China has deliberately snubbed North Korea by inviting South Korea's recently elected president to Beijing, while officials hectored a high-level delegation from Pyongyang last week and issued no such invitation to the North's third-generation hereditary leader, Kim Jong-Un.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the invitation over the weekend, saying South Korean President Park Geun Hye would make a formal state visit at the end of June.
"The timing of this announcement is a diplomatic blockbuster that humiliates North Korea," said retired senior military intelligence analyst and veteran Korea-watcher John McCreary.
"China has 'tilted' to South Korea in public," he added.
He noted that the invitation was announced Friday, the day that North Korea's special envoy, Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-Hae met Chinese President Xi Jinping, carrying a personal letter from Mr. Kim.
VMar. Choe departed Beijing at the weekend "with no invitation for the North Korean leader ... who has never been invited to Beijing," said Mr. McCreary.
China appears to have been applying behind-the-scenes pressure on Pyongyang to rejoin six-party talks aimed at de-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, following the North's recent nuclear test, its third.
Pyongyang walked out of the talks in 2008 and the announcement by VMar Choe that the North is willing to return to them is being interpreted as a victory for Chinese efforts to defuse tensions between North Korea and the United States and its allies in the region.
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