On the surface, China is a staunch supporter of her neighbour North Korea. But it now appears that after the Chinese prime minister’s visit to Pyongyang in 2009, there were serious irritations on the Chinese side. The latest round of Wikileaks, published in British daily The Guardian, reveals that Chinese officials were even contemplating the prospect of a Korean reunification with complete calm.
Experts comment that these leaks are likely to dismay officials in North Korea, who have traditionally looked to China for support. Korea has been divided in half since the end of the war in 1953. A formalised peace treaty was however never signed meaning that in theory the two countries remain at war.
According to the leaked documents, China no longer sees North Korea as a useful ally or even as a useful buffer state and will not risk further hostilities in the area. But on the face of it, China remains inscrutable even refusing to condemn last week’s rocket attacks in which two civilians and two South Korean soldiers died in strikes from North Korea.
This is not the first time that Pyongyang has been criticised for acting provocatively. The country was condemned in 2009 for launching a rocket which they said was only done in order to put a satellite in orbit. Japan was particularly outraged at that incident. The rocket, carrying an intercontinental missile, landed in the sea 300km from the Japanese coast. According to the leaks, the crisis prompted a Chinese official to describe North Korea as acting like a spoiled child in order to get the attention of the United States.
But in the wake of the leaks, it now appears that Chinese officials are not impressed at all with their diminutive neighbour, saying that it has already collapsed economically, and they expect a political collapse with 2-3 years of the death of the current leader, Kim Jong-il.