The government allowed 25 North Korean refugees, who had taken refuge in the Spanish embassy, to fly to the Philippines. The government handled this problem very quickly, indicating that officials did not want a long drawn out process that would bring unwelcome attention to the problem of desperate refugees fleeing the crumbling economy and brutal police state in North Korea. Technically, China is still an ally of North Korea. But for years, Chinese officials have been badgering North Korean leaders to wise up and bring their economic and political thinking up to date. These admonitions have not had much effect and the hunger and destitution among North Koreans increases. China knows that if it showed any more tolerance for the refugees, it would simply encourage more of them to enter China.