China's Foreign Ministry has refused to confirm or deny if talks took place between Chinese President Xi Jinping and senior officials from North Korea over the weekend.
Secretary of the North Korea's Workers Party Central Committee Choe Ryong Hae, who is very close to North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, was in Beijing last week attending China's annual military parade and celebrations to mark the end of the second World War.
Xi did however meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was in Beijing for the same events, as was Russian President Putin.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said "President Park Geun-hye and Secretary Choe Ryong Hae were both guests invited by China , and both received warm and friendly treatment from China," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, when asked if Xi and Choe met aside from when Xi greeted foreign guests at the beginning of the parade.
"China is dedicated to developing a friendly cooperative relationship with both North Korea and South Korea," he said.
When asked by reporters if the lack of a confirmed Xi and Choe meeting was an indication of "China's unhappiness" with its long time North Korean ally Hong said: "As for your supposition, this is incorrect" and refused to elaborate further.
Chinese media reports suggest that Choe and other North Korean officials spent less that 24 hours in China, leaving for home after the parade.
China watchers and experts say South Korean leader Park's meeting with Xi, the sixth time the two have met, demonstrated improving relations between the two countries. They say if Xi did not meet with the North Korean delegation, it was a very public notification that China is becoming frustrated with North Korea, citing North Korea's rejection of talks, its continued threats of war against its enemies, and its nuclear ambitions, as major sticking points.
Just last month North and South Korea appeared to be on course for a military confrontation following a rare exchange of artillery fire over their border and threats of war from North Korea over vocal propaganda messages blasted into North Korea from the South.
The experts say despite China being North Korea's only significant supporter, it wants agreements reached during talks in meetings between the U.S. China, North Korea, South Korea and Japan to be honored. The same applies to United Nations resolutions. Several efforts to restart the talks which took place six years ago have failed.
China which is the world's biggest exporter is South Korea's largest trading partner and is one of only a handful of countries that runs a trading surplus with China.