What kind of message will North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan deliver during his trip to Beijing?
First of all, North Korea watchers expect Kim to explain why last week's inter-Korean talks were called off and point the finger at Seoul for making the rank of its negotiators an issue.
The North Korean diplomat is also likely to tell his Chinese counterpart Zhang Yesui why Pyongyang decided to propose dialogue with Washington and in particular, ask Beijing to play a mediatory role between North Korea and the U.S. for the high-level talks to take place.
There is also the possibility Pyongyang will present its road map for nuclear disarmament as it mentioned the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" for the first time since Kim Jong-un came into power in a statement by a spokesperson for its National Defense Commission on Sunday.
Experts say by doing so, the North could take a step forward in meeting Washington's preconditions for talks, and also ease the diplomatic burden China carries when it comes to issues with Pyongyang.
The U.S. government has reiterated that North Korea must first take authentic and credible action toward denuclearization for any kind of dialogue to take place.
"In coordination with our partners of the six-party talks, we would be open to that, but they need to take those steps first."
Some analysts say North Korea will try to put all the responsibility for strained inter-Korean relations on Seoul ahead of this month's bilateral summit between President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This is because the North is afraid that Beijing will step up the pressure on it especially at a time when South Korea, the U.S. and China are working more closely than ever to contain Pyongyang.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.