Russia’s Shoigu to join Chinese officials in North Korea visit

11 months ago 26

Moscow and Beijing are set to participate in the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s Victory Day.

Published On 25 Jul 2023

A Russian delegation led by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, is set to visit North Korea this week to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory Day, according to a report by North Korean state media agency KCNA.

Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Li Hongzhong will also attend the events in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, with a delegation from Beijing.

North Korea celebrates Victory Day on July 27, the anniversary of the armistice in 1953, which brought an end to the fighting with South Korea.

Millions of people were killed during the conflict, which began in 1950 when the Chinese and Soviet-backed North Korea invaded the United States-backed South Korea, as leader Kim Il Sung sought to reunify by force the peninsula Russia and the US had divided at the end of World War II.

The event this year marks 70 years since the ceasefire, which left the Korean peninsula divided and millions of families split by the so-called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.

KCNA reported that this year’s celebration includes a major military parade in North Korea’s capital.

North Korean allies Moscow and Beijing will be the first public visitors to the country for the Victory Day celebrations since Pyongyang closed its borders at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

China asserted on Monday that it “strictly” implements United Nations sanctions on North Korea, reacting to a letter from the Group of Seven, European Union and others that urged Beijing to stop Pyongyang from evading the measures by using Chinese waters.

Little is known about discreet contacts between the two nations, but Beijing has long been committed to preventing the collapse of North Korea’s three-generation-old Kim regime.

China’s exports to North Korea in June were eight times higher than a year before, when the secretive state was reporting tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases per day and had shut its border.

The US, meanwhile, has accused North Korea of providing military aid to Russia for the war in Ukraine, a claim that both Pyongyang and Moscow deny.

In turn, North Korea has blamed Washington for the crisis in Ukraine, insisting that the West’s “hegemonic policy” forced Russia to take military action to protect its security interests.

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