The Guardian reports:
China supports the “independent and peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula” and cannot afford to give the North Korean regime the impression it has a blank cheque to act any way it wants, Chinese officials based in Europe said today.
The officials, who asked not to be identified, spoke after the Guardian revealed that senior figures in Beijing, exasperated with North Korea behaving like a “spoiled child”, had told their South Korean counterparts that China was leaning towards acceptance of reunification under Seoul’s control.
China’s moves to distance itself from the North Korean regime were revealed in the latest tranche of leaked US embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published yesterday by the Guardian and four international newspapers.
One Chinese official said today reunification was not going to happen overnight and China’s first priority was to calm down the situation, restart a dialogue, and maintain stability in the region. But Beijing had always backed peaceful reunification as a longer term goal.
The officials admitted to a sense of frustration in Beijing over North Korea’s recent actions, including its nuclear and missile tests – which China opposed – and last week’s lethal artillery bombardment of a South Korean island.