Mr. Chun was quoted in a US document released by WikiLeaks as telling the US ambassador to South Korea, Kathleen Stephens, in February 2010 that China “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile toward China.”
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.