Nov 29, 2010

WikiLeaks - China prepared to abandon North Korea

One of perhaps the most controversial leaks relates to yesterdays post on the troubles in Korea.

According to leaked US embassy cables China are getting fed up of their North Korean allies, referring to them as a "spoiled child". The comments came from China's vice foreign minister as he told US officials that the April 2009 missile tests were just a way of gaining Washington's attention. China also appear to be readying for the reunification of Korea, with officials assessing that they could cope with 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability before having to use military to reseal the border. A Chinese ambassador also warned that North Korea's nuclear activity was "a threat to the whole world's security".

South Korea's then vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, has also claimed to have been told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, a view which was becoming popular with Beijing, especially from younger Communist Party leaders who no longer feel North Korea is a useful or reliable ally. Chun has said North Korea has already collapsed economically and that a political collapse in inevitable after Kim Jong-il's death despite efforts to obtain Chinese help and secure his son, Kim Jong-un's, succession.

Both Chun and a senior Chinese official have said China's influence over North Korea is over-estimated and they are unable to dissuade them from their self-defeating policies, with public opinion getting increasingly critical of the North's behaviour.

In summary, it would appear the end may be nigh for North Korea and, with it, the division of the Korean Peninsula. Events over the last couple of weeks, perhaps even caused by realisation that their time might be running out, may work as a catalyst towards China's abandonment. However, not everyone is in agreement with the validity of these reports (coming from a South Korean interpretation) or how ready Beijing is to abandon the North.

Personally, I feel the collapse of North Korea and reunification of the peninsula is the best situation, leading me to hope that these reports are true and that we will have a unified Korea within the next few years with minimum bloodshed.

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