- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2013

North Korea has sent a top military officer to China to act as a “special envoy,” diplomats said.

Few other details about the dispatch are known, The Associated Press reported. But the Korean Central News Agency, the official media for North Korea, named the envoy as Choe Ryong Hae. Mr. Choe was appointed as a vice marshal for the military last year, AP said. The role is supervisory: He oversees North Korea’s 1.2 million soldiers.

Military and political experts are watching the meeting closely. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hasn’t personally traveled to Beijing for more than a year, since the December 2011 death of his father.

China provides North Korea with political and economic aid.