China Could Ask for U.S. to Get Out of Korea, WikiLeaks Cable Warns

      January 20, 2011 12:37

      Timed with the U.S. visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, WikiLeaks unveiled huge volumes of U.S. diplomatic cables about China. The Norwegian daily Aftenposten published the diplomatic cables on Wednesday. According to the cables, "A peaceful resolution of the threat posed by North Korea might cause China to call for an end to the U.S. base presence on the Korean Peninsula."

      The forecast is part of a report written in January 2009 by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing titled "Looking at the Next 30 Years of the U.S.-China Relationship" marking the 30th anniversary of bilateral ties.

      President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of China begin their working dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House on Jan. 18, 2011. /Courtesy of White House

      "Over the past thirty years, Chinese officials have come to begrudgingly acknowledge the benefits to East Asia resulting from the U.S. military presence in the Pacific," the report claims but adds, "Perceived threats to China's security posed by Japan's participation in missile defense or by future high-tech U.S. military technologies might cause tomorrow's Chinese leaders to change their assessment and to exert economic pressures on U.S. allies like Thailand or the Philippines to choose between Beijing and Washington."

      China's diplomatic work in the six-party talks or through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization shows that it "plays a leading and often responsible and constructive role in both of these multilateral groups. Future U.S. policy-makers might usefully consider additional international mechanisms that include both U.S. and Chinese membership." Launched in 2001 in Shanghai, the SCO is a regional organization of China, Russia and four Central Asian countries aimed at boosting ties and cooperation.

      On economics, the report said, "More and more experts see the utility of establishing an Asia-Pacific G8, to include China, Japan, and the United States plus India, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Russia." It added, "While still reluctant to claim China is a global leader, Chinese officials are gradually gaining confidence as a regional power." The report said China "might choose to pursue some uniquely Chinese path" 30 years from now, rather than be included among the ranks of the world's advanced countries.


      Upset by the handling of his first visit to the U.S. in April 2006, when he was treated to a working lunch, Hu sacked then foreign minister Li Zhaoxing, according to another cable written by the consul general in Shanghai on May 14, 2007. According to a U.S.-China specialist, Li "was hastily replaced because President Hu Jintao had become dissatisfied with Li's management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hu blamed Li for his less than perfect visit."

      "There were no flags between the White House and Blair house and no state dinner at the White House," while the master of ceremonies at the welcoming ceremony referred to China as the "Republic of China," the name for Taiwan, rather than the "People's Republic of China." Also, the Chinese Embassy in Washington failed to prevent Falun Gong protesters from being present during Hu's speech in front of the White House lawn.

      "Three diplomats defected and at least 60 [ministry] officials were subjected to disciplinary investigations" over the protocol blunders in the year after Hu's U.S. visit, according to the cable.

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