Leaked cables released in the recent WikiLeaks splurge show that China is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, despite public shows of support, the Guardian newspaper reports.
The paper, which was given details of thousands of leaked cables along with the New York Times and Der Spiegel, says US embassy cables show senior Beijing figures regarded North Korea as a ‘spoiled child’ because of missile tests in 2009, and has signalled to the US that it would support reunification.
The paper also says that a Chinese ambassador warned nuclear activity by North Korea was “a threat to the whole world’s security”.
Beijing has now called for ’emergency consultations’, and invited a North Korean official to China, in the wake of the recent heightening in tensions.
A South Korean official also reportedly told the US that Chinese officials told him Korea should be unified under Southern control, and that Beijing would not risk conflict on the peninsula, the paper reports.
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The news came as South Korea deployed rocket launchers and extra artillery on the frontline border island bombarded last week by North Korea, as Seoul’s leader vowed Monday to make Pyongyang pay for any fresh provocations, AFP reported.
An AFP photographer saw extra soldiers on the island and multiple rocket launchers being installed, six days after the barrage which triggered fury in the South and alarm worldwide.
Military officials quoted by Yonhap news agency said the number of K-9 self-propelled howitzers there had been doubled to 12.
President Lee Myung-Bak, under fire for the military’s perceived feeble response to last Tuesday’s attack which killed two civilians and two marines, indicated Seoul would not make the same mistake twice.
“If the North commits any additional provocations against the South, we will make sure that it pays a dear price without fail,” the grim-faced leader said in a nationally televised address, calling the shelling “a crime against humanity”.