South Korea proposed giving China business incentives to persuade Beijing to accept a unified Korea if the regime in Pyongyang were to collapse, according to a secret US State Department cable.
The content of the cable was reported on Sunday by The New York Times, which obtained thousands of classified documents from WikiLeaks. The newspaper was among the handful of media given access to the documents by WikiLeaks.
According to The New York Times, the US ambassador to Seoul relayed information in February to the State Department in Washington that South Korea was considering commercial inducements to China.
The diplomatic cable was based on the possibility that North Korea's economic woes along with potential political instability could lead the regime to implode.
The ambassador wrote that the South Koreans believed the right business deals would help salve" China's concerns about living with a reunified Korea" that is in a benign alliance" with the US, according to The New York Times.
China has long feared that a political collapse of the Stalinist state would send millions of refugees across the border, and that a unified Korea would strengthen US influence in the region.