So far the Monday releases from WikiLeaks have been few in number (indeed less than 60 cables have been leaked since this morning), but they reveal a belief among South Korean diplomats that they will inevitably seize control over a collapsed North Korea within 2-3 years after the death of Kim Jong-il.
According to South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Chun Young-Woo, the Chinese government is also resigned to this fact and unnamed officials had told him they were ready to “face the new reality” of South Korean hegemony over a reunited Korean Peninsula.
Indeed, the Chinese officials were said to be keen on the idea, seeing North Korea as a growing liability and a united Korea as a potentially valuable trading partner. Their only apparent concern was for the US not to use Korean unity as an excuse to move its troops northward and along the Chinese border.
Indeed, Chun predicted that the only real sticking point for reunification would be Japan, who he said had a preference to see Korea divided. He dismissed this as a serious problem, however, saying Japan lacked the leverage to stop reunification.