This article is being updated.
A newly released batch of diplomatic cables provided by WikiLeaks focuses on North Korea, the Guardian is reporting. Coming shortly after North Korea's attacks on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, the dispatches reveal delicate information about China's alliance with the rogue state, as well as the danger it poses to the international community.
The Guardian reports that Chinese officials referred to North Korea as a "spoiled child" and detailed the growing distance between the two allies:
In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.
Chun, who has since been appointed national security adviser to South Korea's president, said North Korea had already collapsed economically.
The New York Times reports that a top South Korean official told Stephens that a younger generation of Chinese leaders "would be comfortable with a reunited Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a benign alliance."
The Times also noted the many lapses in the ability of even North Korea's allies to predict its actions. A series of startling provocations are absent from the cables, which end in February. As the Times reports:
This trove of cables ends in February, just before North Korea began a series of military actions that has thrown some of Asia's most prosperous countries into crisis. A month after the lunch, the North is believed to have launched a torpedo attack on the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, that killed 46 sailors.
Three weeks ago it revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant, potentially giving it a new pathway to make nuclear bomb material. And last week it shelled a South Korean island, killing two civilians and two marines and injuring many more.
None of that was predicted in the dozens of State Department cables about North Korea obtained by the organization WikiLeaks, and in fact even China, the North's closest ally, has often been startlingly wrong, the cables show.
The latest cables also revealed haggling between the U.S. and its allies over former prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. ABC News is reporting that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah came up with one novel solution: implanting the men with blue chip devices so that they could be tracked after their release like "horses and falcons." White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan reportedly replied, "Horses don't have good lawyers."
While eschewing the blue chip idea, the White House was willing to go along with other schemes to find placement for the former prisoners, with Slovenia vying for a 20-minute meeting with President Obama and other nations asking for aid or cash "incentives." The New York Times reports:
The Maldives tied acceptance of prisoners to American help in obtaining International Monetary Fund assistance, while the Bush administration offered the Pacific island of Kiribati "an incentive package" of $3 million to take 17 Chinese Muslim detainees, the cables show. In discussions about creating a rehabilitation program for its own citizens, the president of Yemen repeatedly asked Mr. Brennan, "How many dollars will the U.S. bring?"
The United States has faced significant obstacles placing former Guantánamo Bay prisoners abroad.
Hillary Clinton called the leaks an "attack" before her upcoming trip to Central Asia. According to the Voice of America, she strongly condemned the leaks, saying:
It is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity. I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge.