North Korea celebrated its founding anniversary on Friday, September 8, with a parade presided over by its leader Kim Jong Un, including Russian diplomats and a high-ranking Chinese delegation, according to state media. In this way, Pyongyang deepens its ties with Moscow and Beijing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un celebrated the anniversary of the country’s founding with a parade of paramilitary groups and diplomatic exchanges between China and Russia.
The event on Friday, September 8, was attended by Pyongyang’s “paramilitary forces”, according to state media, rather than regular army soldiers, and did not display the country’s banned weaponry, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.
State media showed uniformed paramilitary brigades, some of them mounted on tractors or big red trucks, as Kim with his young daughter, looked on smiling and applauded.
Kim Il Sung Square “was filled with excitement and joy from onlookers who meaningfully celebrated the birthday of their great mighty country,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.
Kim met with the Chinese delegation, led by Liu Guozhong, vice premier of the State Council. It is the second such visit by senior officials from Beijing in six weeks, as Pyongyang shows flexibility in its strict Covid-era border controls.
The two sides announced their goals to “further intensify multifaceted coordination and cooperation” between the two countries, according to a separate KCNA report.
Moscow expanded its official presence in North Korea, shortly before the parade at its embassy, with 20 diplomats and technical staff, in the first staff rotation since 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Kim a message on the anniversary, KCNA reported on Saturday, calling on the two countries to “expand bilateral ties in all aspects.”
And according to Chinese state media, President Xi Jinping “extended his congratulations in a call to Kim Jong Un” on the anniversary.
New Cold War?
Friday’s was the third parade this year for the nuclear state. The previous one – a military parade with the most advanced weaponry in the country – took place at the end of July to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended hostilities in the 1950-53 Korean War.
The visits by China and Russia come as speculation mounts that Kim – who rarely leaves his country and has not traveled since the coronavirus pandemic began – will meet Putin to discuss arms deals.
U.S. and other officials told The New York Times that Kim is likely to head by armored train later this month to Vladivostok, on Russia’s Pacific coast not far from North Korea, to meet with Putin.
Whether or not a Putin-Kim summit is held soon, the United States is trying to deter serious violations of international law by preemptively disseminating intelligence, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha University.
Growing cooperation between China, Russia and North Korea, coupled with Xi’s absence from the G20 Summit in India, “gives the appearance of a widening fissure in Asia’s geopolitical landscape,” he said.
Most of the region’s stakeholders want to avoid a new Cold War, but this looks increasingly difficult as Beijing and Moscow close in on Pyongyang, and North Korea aligns itself with China’s and Russia’s challenges to the international order. .
Kim is expected to travel to Russia this month to meet with Putin and discuss supplying weapons to Moscow to support its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, North Korea supplements its already large military with various paramilitary, reserve and security groups, such as the military-affiliated Worker-Peasant Red Guard (WPRG).
With Reuters and AFP. Note in the original language
Source: France 24