WikiLeaks: China Is Frustrated With North Korea Leaked U.S. cables reveal Chinese leaders see declining value in North Korea as a buffer state.
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WikiLeaks: China Is Frustrated With North Korea

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WikiLeaks: China Is Frustrated With North Korea

WikiLeaks: China Is Frustrated With North Korea

WikiLeaks: China Is Frustrated With North Korea

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131689475/131687834" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Leaked U.S. cables reveal Chinese leaders see declining value in North Korea as a buffer state.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Hi, Louisa.

LOUISA LIM: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: Let's start with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il. What glimpses do you get of him when you look through these documents?

LIM: So sources there were telling the consulate staff that there are different factions competing for his attention, making it difficult for him to set a firm and clear direction. So reading between the lines is - clearly there was some worry about his erratic behavior and whether he's really in control.

INSKEEP: So some insights, there, into the leader of North Korea. Another key factor here, of course, is China - North Korea's neighbor, North Korea's really only ally in the world. What are the Chinese thinking about North Korea according to these documents?

LIM: And he believes China would not be able to stop North Korea's collapse after the death of Kim Jong-Il. He says he was also told by two Chinese officials, they believe that if North Korea did collapse China would be comfortable with a reunified Korea under the control of South Korea.

INSKEEP: Let me stop you there, because that is a compelling detail. You're saying that the suggestion here is, at least the suggestion, is that the Chinese would accept the disappearance of the North Korean state and a U.S. ally taking control of the whole peninsula moving up the Chinese border - South Korea.

LIM: What we're talking about is a theoretical situation. This is in the event that the regime collapsed. This is clearly not China's official position right now. China is North Korea's traditional ally. They have always been seen to be as close as lips and teeth. But talking to scholars here who specialize in North Korea, they say that such a scenario in the event of regime collapse, is not impossible.

INSKEEP: NPR's Louisa Lim, thanks very much.

LIM: Thank you.

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