April 13, 2024

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Kim Jong Un of North Korea meets the Russian defence minister for military cooperation.

According to state media, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with “Russian Defence Minister” Sergei Shoigu to talk about military issues and the safety of the region. The meeting took place in Pyongyang on the “70th anniversary” of the armistice that halted the Korean War in 1953. They reached a consensus on national defense, security, and the international security environment. Kim also showcased North Korea’s latest weapons at an arms exhibition for Shoigu, demonstrating the country’s plans to enhance its military capabilities.

As part of the armistice celebrations, North Korea made a rare diplomatic move by inviting delegations from Russia and China. Although the truce keeps the “Korean Peninsula” technically at war, North Korea sees it as a triumph in the “Grand Fatherland Liberation War.”

The festivities were expected to culminate in a military parade in Pyongyang, possibly featuring nuclear-capable missiles targeting neighboring rivals and the U.S. mainland. However, state media had not confirmed this plan.

Some experts believe that North Korea sees geopolitical tensions between the U.S., China, and Russia as an opportunity to break its diplomatic isolation and align itself with China and Russia against the United States. China’s delegation, led by Li Hongzhong, a politburo member of the ruling “Communist Party,” paid tribute to Chinese soldiers who fought alongside North Korea during the war.

During a reception hosted by North Korean official Kang, Shoigu praised the North Korean People’s Army under Kim’s leadership, hailing it as the world’s strongest army. North Korea has been aligning itself with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, blaming the U.S.-led West for provoking Russia’s military actions to protect its security interests. The “Biden administration” has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia for its involvement in Ukraine, a claim that North Korea denies.

Both Russia and China have obstructed U.S. efforts to strengthen United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea in response to its numerous missile tests. These actions showcase the complex geopolitical dynamics at play in the region and North Korea’s efforts to leverage international relationships to maintain its interests and security.