According to certain documents revealed by the controversial website WikiLeaks, the Chinese government has a more critical attitude towards its North Korean ally than usually comes across officially.
North Korea's sole ally has apparently been exasperated by Pyongyang's provocations and that the bilateral relationship might be losing strategic value.
In April 2009, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei is reported to have said Pyongyang was behaving like a "spoiled child in order to get the attention of the 'adult'" by carrying out missile tests.
China urges US to deal with fallout 'properly'
The Chinese foreign ministry has reacted with anger to the leaks of secret messages sent by US diplomats at embassies. It has urged the US to deal with the fallout appropriately.
"We have seen the reports. We hope that the US side will properly handle relevant issues," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei, refusing to comment on the contents.
Some of the other disclosed documents have hinted that China could be willing to accept a reunified Korea under South Korean control. However, it would not be willing to welcome US troops on northern Korean territory were reunification to take place.
The relationship between China and its erratic ally is not the only controversial theme in the documents revealed by WikiLeaks.
It would seem that according to certain US officials recent cyber attacks on the search engine Google might have been organized by the top Chinese leadership.
But Hong Lei refused to comment on this too: "We don't want to see any disturbance to China-US relations," he said.
Little coverage of leaks in Chinese media
There has not been much talk about the WikiLeaks revelations in China. The WikiLeaks website is blocked and the Chinese media are only allowed to report generally about the leaks. There has been nothing in the coverage about China or North Korea.
There is also very little to be found on the Internet - a sign that the censors have been deleting user comments and warning Internet servers.
But one commentator did manage to get around the censors: "Respect! WikiLeaks is powerful. When are they coming to China? They could publish our secrets too."
Author: Ruth Kirchner (act)
Editor: Matthias von Hein