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By Tom Fitton
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Choe Ryong-Hae
The United States and Japan appear set to send a political signal of military solidarity to China, just as Beijing has in the past signaled Washington about its military buildup.
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.
A North Korean delegation to China appears to have been gently snubbed ahead of a meeting Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to one regional analyst, who say the visitors' treatment is part of Beijing's effort to reign in its troublesome, isolated and poverty stricken neighbor.
North Korea has sent a top military officer to China to act as a "special envoy," diplomats said.
North Korea unveiled the embalmed body of Kim Jong-il, still in his trademark khaki jumpsuit, on the anniversary of his death Monday as mourning mixed with pride over a recent satellite launch that was a long-held goal of the late authoritarian leader.
North Korea parlayed the success of last week's rocket launch to glorify leader Kim Jong-un and his late father on Sunday, the eve of the first anniversary of his death.
military official Choe Ryong Hae, meanwhile, warned that the army was prepared to defend the country's sovereignty.