To read the WikiLeaks cables is to realize how vast a gap yawns between a state’s public comments and its internal apprehensions.
Consider China’s recent statements on North Korea. After North Korea attacked South Korean territory a few days ago, and after the US completed war games in the area, China issued a tame call for calm. Nothing should be done, a spokesperson put it mildly, to “inflame the situation”.
But the subtext, freshly disclosed by WikiLeaks cables, is anything but mild. Some Chinese officials seem to be tiring of North Korea behaving like a “spoiled child”, and one was reported to be worried that North Korea’s nuclear activity was a “threat to the whole world’s security”. If North Korea truly causes China such grief, it is perplexing why such a powerful nation would continue to prop up a tiny rogue state of dubious strategic value.