Well, maybe. One of the main criticisms of Chinese foreign policy, at least in US and Japanese eyes, has been China's apparent failure to hold Kim Jong-il's regime properly to account. Indeed, some have suggested that China is, in effect, enabling bad behaviour.
So it will be interesting to see whether Kim Jong-il's youngest son and presumed heir, Kim Jong-un, really is going to be heading to China as has been reported here by Reuters:
'The visit, if it takes place, will boost Jong-un's standing as the North's next leader, as China remains the reclusive North's main economic and political backer.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
'Jong-un is likely to ask China for large-scale economic aid when he visits, a Japanese newspaper reported earlier last week, adding he could go as early as this month, after the end of China's National People's Congress meeting.'
It's probably too early to engage in a great deal of speculation though. The report is based on comments reportedly made by a South Korean lawmaker who had heard it from a South Korean spy in a closed door meeting.