The British periodical _Guardian_ reports that Wikileaks reveals that China is privately ready to abandon North Korea, and may be open to Korean re-unification under Seoul. This sounds very suspicious. It is more likely that Chinese officials are planting misinformation with their American counterparts, possibly setting a military trap.
It is more than conceivable that pretending a willingness to abandon the Kim dynasty of Pyongyang is a way to make America over-confident should Pyongyang re-open the Korean War. A renewed Korean War in which America remains unprepared for massive Chinese Communist support for the North Korean state provides Beijing with a golden opportunity to trap US forces, move on Taiwan, isolate Japan, and possibly remove the American presence from the Western Pacific for good. It would allow Beijing, in a single dramatic conflict, to fulfill a large part of the what the regime sees as its historic mission, namely, to end the legacy of Western imperialism in the Far East. Beijing's official organs never broach the possibility that Taiwan's continuing wariness about reunification, despite its clear lack of international support and a government headed by the pan-Blues, may just have to do with differing indigenous political evolutions on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait; but insist that the existence of a "China Irredentia" can only be because of the nefarious plots of first Tokyo, then Washington. Similarly, the performance of the Chinese forces in the Korean War of 1950-53 remains a large part of China's self-image as a rising power. Should a Beijing-Pyongyang alliance win a second Korean War, with Communist absorption of Taiwan as a further benefit to Beijing, China would be in an excellent position to completely eclipse Japan as a power in the Far East.
Naked Chinese pressure on a number of neighboring governments to boycott the Nobel ceremony that honored Liu Xiaobo is a reminder that Beijing remains the last, best hope of 20th century totalitarianism. It is certain that China feels that its rising power permits it to censor critical voices not only at home, but abroad as well. It is therefore inconceivable that a Korea reunified under a multiparty government allied to the United States (and, with reunification, possibly confident enough to undertake a final reconciliation with Japan) could be truly welcome to Beijing's rulers. The Korean minority in China's northeast is already a vector for underground Christian propaganda; and the possibility of their becoming a vector for political dissidence would only be strengthened by Korean reunification on Seoul's terms.
As students of Sunzi, China's leaders know that one of America's great weaknesses is a deep desire to believe that the Chinese Communist regime is fundamentally benign, internationally responsible, and not really represented by the continuing anti-American message found in China's government-controlled media. This is something they know they can use for political and military leverage, just as they have used it to gain international economic respectability in the face of such practices as using prison and child labor.
Hence, the US Government should take such feelers from Beijing with a large grain of salt.