Hu Says China Has Hopes For Korean Reunification

The currency issue, particularly the internationalization of the yuan, has taken the headlines from President Hu Jintao’s pre-U.S. visit Q&A with two U.S. newspapers (here via the Wall Street Journal), even if there was nothing new of substance in his answer. But this Bystander’s eye was caught by Hu’s endorsement of unification on the Korean peninsula.

As a close neighbor and friend of both the DPRK and the ROK, China hopes that the North and the South will improve relations and achieve reconciliation and cooperation through dialogue and consultation and eventually realize independent and peaceful reunification, and we support their efforts in this regard.

The notion that China is becoming more open to the idea of reunification surfaced earlier in the U.S. diplomatic cables made public by Wikileaks in November. One quoted then South Korean vice-foreign minister Chun Yung-woo saying  that the younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally. They suggested that Beijing would even accept a unified Korea under South Korean leadership provided it was not hostile to China. Hu didn’t go that far, but that he went even any distance at all in that direction suggests the sands may be shifting however slowly under China’s long-standing policy towards Pyongyang.

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