New WikiLeaks documents: China ‘ready to abandon’ North Korea


New documents posted on the websites of the Guardian and The New York Times suggest Chinese officials are losing patience with long-time ally North Korea. Senior figures in Beijing have even described the regime in the North as behaving like a “spoiled child.” According to cables obtained by WikiLeaks, South Korea’s then vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, said earlier this year that senior Chinese officials (whose names are redacted in the cables) had told him they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing. Chun was quoted at length in a cable sent by the US ambassador in Seoul, Kathleen Stephens, earlier this year. He is reported as saying that “the North had already collapsed economically and would collapse politically two to three years after the death of (leader) Kim Jong-il.” CNN has viewed the cables posted on the newspapers’ websites and on the WikiLeaks website. Chun, who has since become South Korea’s National Security Adviser, dismissed the prospect of China’s military intervention in the event of a North Korean collapse, noting that “China’s strategic economic interests now lie with the United States, Japan, and South Korea — not North Korea.” He said that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington In a


 

 

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