WikiLeaks Reveal China Growing Weary of “Spoiled Child” that is Kim Jong Il

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Kim Jong Il

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il

A cable from January of this year, released via the latest round of WikiLeaks shows China frustrated in its relationship with North Korea.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei is quoted as saying that “North Korea wanted to engage directly with the United States and was therefore acting like a “spoiled child” in order to get the attention of the “adult.” The cable continued: “China therefore encouraged the United States, ‘after some time,’ to start to re-engage the DPRK.”

Per China, the North Korean Leader was acting like a “spoiled child” in order to get the attention of the “adult.”

In October 2009, a cable sent from Beijing recounted a meeting between U.S. diplomats and Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who had recently met Kim Jong Il. According to the leaked cable, Dai noted that Kim had lost weight when compared to when he last saw him three years earlier, but that Kim appeared to be in reasonably good health and still had a “sharp mind.”

Dai also spoke about Kim’s liking for alcohol. The cable continued: “Kim Jong-il had a reputation among the Chinese for being ‘quite a good drinker,’ and, Dai said, he had asked Kim if he still drank alcohol. Kim said yes.”

The North Koreans told Dai that they wanted to have dialogue with the United States first and that they would consider next steps, including possible multilateral talks, depending on their conversation with the United States. North Korea held “great expectations for the United States,” said Dai.

U.S. Ambassador Hoagland reported that China’s objectives were “to ensure they [North Korean leaders] honor their commitments on non-proliferation, maintain stability, and ‘don’t drive [Kim Jong-il] mad.’”

It seems the Russians were similarly frustrated by North Korean obduracy. In April 2009, a U.S. diplomatic cable quoted a senior Russian official as saying that “Foreign Minister Lavrov had a difficult trip to North Korea that did not reveal any flexibility in DPRK’s position.” The Russian official assessed that Pyongyang was “hunkering down for a succession crisis.”

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