WikiLeaks release: How China sees North Korea
China appears to be distancing itself from North Korea and warming up to the idea of Korean reunification, according to WikiLeaks.
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The Monitor notes that intelligence analysts believe China helped North Korea repeatedly ship missiles and nuclear components to and from Iran and Pakistan by air, despite UN sanction resolutions. Wikileaks' first release of cables contained allegations that China dismissed US requests to stop such exports through Beijing. The cables also revealed that Chinese leaders ordered cyber attacks on Google and US government computers, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Day 2 document release showed Chinese officials expressing increasing frustration with North Korea. One painted the regime as a "spoiled child." The Associated Press reports that a top South Korean official dismissed China's nuclear negotiator as "incompetent."
There appears to be a split among China's senior leaders about just how to treat North Korea, reports the BBC.
According to one dispatch, some Chinese officials say "they're willing to 'face the new reality' that North Korea was of little value to China as a buffer state," while others don't appear as thrilled with that approach.
This, along with the little information that even China seems to know about North Korea, and the fact that China has been relatively quiet in its response to North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island, raises the question of how much influence China actually has. Complicating matters is the fact that China is perhaps North Korea’s only “real” ally.
North Korea is expected to seek assurances of China's continued support for the regime, as well as its opposition to the joint military exercises that the US and South Korea began staging in the Yellow Sea on Sunday, analysts told the Wall Street Journal.
"If these intercepted cables are accurate," blogs the Economist, they provide some confirmation that South Korea and the US are right to stick to their policy of pressuring North Korea by refusing to return to six-party talks. And "if Kim Jong-il and his son are calculating their recent military aggressions with an assumption that Beijing regards them as being eternally useful," the Economist says, “They may now have a rethink coming.”