China's top foreign policy official arrived in North Korea to defuse concerns after WikiLeaks disclosed reports that Beijing was ready to support Korean unification.
Dai Bingguo, the state counselor for foreign affairs, was despatched to Pyongyang to press its leadership to enter regional talks.
Japanese reports said Mr Dai would offer reassurances over reported comments by more junior Chinese officials that Beijing would not stand in the way of reunification. A cable from Kathleen Stephens, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul, reported that South Korea had been told China foresaw the collapse of the North in "two to three years" after the death of Kim Jong-il.
The cables also reported that he did not dare tell the North Korean leader that China was growing frustrated with its neighbor.
While Beijing has not commented on the leaks Mr Dai was expected to tell Pyongyang the reported remarks did not represent the thinking of the senior Chinese leadership.
Cables released by WikiLeaks also revealed that in January of this year, then Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung-hwan said high-ranking North Korean diplomats defected to South Korea, but refused to disclose the exact number.
[The Daily Telegraph]