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A Post-Pandemic Welcome: North Korea Hosts China and Russia

By: Angelina Wang

On July 27, North Korea’s “Victory Day,” Kim Jong Un welcomed Chinese Politburo member Li Hongzhong and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with warm arms. Photos released by the North Korean state media shows the three men watching a large-scale military parade held in Pyongyang, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

Videos show children waving the North Korean flag proudly and excitedly. Soldiers either march in unison, or salute the leader. Olive-green tanks carrying different weapons, such as nuclear-capable missiles, stroll through the streets as citizens clap loudly. New attack drones, underwater torpedoes, and spy drones are also paraded alongside the new weaponry.

People’s Republic of China spokeswoman Mao Ning spoke at the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s daily press briefings this week on Tuesday, again emphasizing the historical ties.

“Our two parties and the two countries have had a good tradition of friendly exchanges. Having a high-level Chinese delegation visit the DPRK and mark the occasion shows the high importance both sides attach to our bilateral ties,” she said.

Wang Yajun, China’s ambassador to North Korea, was also seen at a banquet, according to state media.

During the parade, the men were shown standing together, typically side by side, talking and chatting with smiles on their faces.

Pyongyang is a vocal supporter of Moscow, and has declined to comment negatively on the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Additionally, Pyongyang has connected even more to the cause of trying to limit U.S. influence in the regions. On July 28, Senior North Korean officials gave speeches accusing the West of increasing tension to an all-time high.

However, some other countries aren’t particularly happy about the union of Russia, China, and North Korea.

Wi Sung-lac, the former South Korean ambassador to Russia, says that, “China and Russia are special partners for North Korea at this moment. In effect, China and Russia are sort of enablers for North Korea to go ahead with the nuclear and missile program. … That’s very much worrisome and frustrating.”

South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol observes similarities between the current Russo-Ukrainian war and the Korean War: “The current situation facing Ukraine reminds us of the past situation of the Republic of Korea,” Yoon said in a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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