WikiLeaks also released a separate US cable quoting a Chinese vice foreign minister, He Yafei, as saying in 2009 that North Korea’s behavior in conducting missile tests that April was that of “a spoiled child.”
Two high-level trips by Americans next week are expected to elicit some understanding of the depth of real attitudes in Beijing and Pyongyang. James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, travels to Beijing to impress upon the Chinese the need to hold North Korea in check if the Chinese really want “stability,” as they often say.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is planning to visit North Korea next week. Mr. Richardson, who has visited several times over the years, has been a strong advocate of “engagement” with North Korea and is expected to try to lay the groundwork for renewed dialogue between North Korea and the US.
At the same time, Dai, reputed as a highly skilled negotiator on close terms with China’s President Hu Jintao, is assumed by South Korean officials to have stressed the advantages for North Korea of increasing Chinese aid and trade.
A report by China’s Xinhua news agency about Dai and Kim Jong-il reaching “a consensus on bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean peninsula” dramatized China’s historic relationship with North Korea.
The report did not mention the Nov. 23 North Korean attack on Yeonpyong Island in the Yellow Sea. It did, however, serve as a reminder of an alliance that dates from the Korean War when Chinese troops drove out American and South Korean forces that had advanced to the Yalu River border.