A delegation led by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attended a solemn meeting in Pyongyang held in honor of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Korean people in the Patriotic Liberation War. The DPRK government and the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, as well as veterans, took part in the solemn event. The Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation read out the message of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.
They received the Russian delegation in Pyongyang with an honor guard. At the airport, Sergei Shoigu was greeted by the Minister of Defense of the DPRK, Army General Kang Song Nam, negotiations were held with him at the Russian minister.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is an important partner of Russia, with which we are connected by a common border and a rich history of cooperation”, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry emphasized. And he added that it is necessary to consistently develop bilateral relations between the Russian Federation and the DPRK in all areas, including cooperation through defense departments.
Sergei Shoigu also met with Kim Jong-un. “They remembered the deep history of friendship between the DPRK and Russia, discussed issues of mutual interest in the field of national defense and security,” the voice of Korea said. The Russian minister handed over a personal letter from Vladimir Putin.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation also reported that the meeting participants exchanged views on the topic of global and regional security. At the Arms Exhibition 2023, the Russian minister was shown new samples of weapons and equipment, including drones, drones and missiles.
A three-way relationship?
Historically, in terms of geography and interests, Korea and Northeast Asia have always been the “east pole” of Russia’s contact with Japan, the “interests” of the Anglo-Saxons in this region, as well as China.
A month before the visit of the Minister of Defense to the DPRK, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko discussed the topic of the Korean Peninsula with the special representative of the Chinese government Liu Xiaoming. It was about the ongoing tension in relations caused by the growth of military activity of the United States and its allies. These actions were called “unprecedented and disproportionate”, the statement said.
Earlier, the head of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, Wang Yi, also spoke about relations between Russia and China, their stability and maturity in the face of serious changes in the world. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Chinese delegation at the celebrations in Pyongyang was headed by Li Hongzhong, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC of the PRC, a member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee.
Kim Jong-un held a meeting with the party-government delegation of the PRC, the parties confirmed the desire for close strategic and tactical interaction. “This visit contributes to the healthy and stable development of relations between China and the DPRK, strengthening peace and stability in the region and creating conditions for a political settlement of the peninsula problem,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said about the participation of the Chinese delegation in the celebrations.
Do not guess what questions and proposals Russia may have for the leadership of the DPRK. Partnerships are formed between the parties on the basis of common interests. Pyongyang recognized the results of referendums in new regions of the Russian Federation, the DPRK voted against all resolutions of the UN General Assembly condemning Russia’s actions.
It is known that the parties discussed issues of “tactical and strategic cooperation in the field of defense.” What lies behind this five-word formula, which sounded in the dialogues of the DPRK with China and Russia?
Why do you threaten your neighbors with anathema?
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation noted that the purpose of the visit of the Russian delegation to the DPRK is to participate in celebrations. But it is possible that this was also a reaction to plans to give the AUKUS alliance strategic functions and formally drag Seoul into this new structure.
Visits by US Navy submarines to South Korean ports, including those submarines carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles and Trident II D5 intercontinental ballistic missiles, worry Russia no less than the DPRK and China.
Pyongyang said that US nuclear submarines in the waters and ports of South Korea increase the risk of nuclear war, and the sister of DPRK leader Kim Yo Jong bluntly said that the Washington Declaration, the United States and South Korea, will lead to a deterioration in the security situation.
In April, South Korea, the United States and Japan conducted anti-submarine exercises. In response, Pyongyang unveiled an updated defense strategy that emphasized the development of “suppressive offensive forces”, refused to notify the UN of its missile launches, accused Washington and Seoul of escalating tensions on the peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war.”
The Ryonhap agency indicated that these conclusions were based on the report of the Institute of American Studies of the DPRK Foreign Ministry. The document compares “military tensions” in the region to the situation before the outbreak of the Korean War. On the agency’s website, the United States is responsible for the growing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
It is possible that the visit of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation was supposed to show the NATO bloc that the plans of the Europeans to support the United States in East Asia do not promise anything good to Europe, as well as Australia. Moreover, Japan, which announced plans to rearm its “self-defense forces”.
Washington announced a new package of military assistance to Taiwan, which will go through the “Presidential Drawdown Authority,” used for urgent transfer of weapons to Ukraine, bypassing the standard procedure.
South Korea has recently also tightened its policy in the Russian direction, handed over to the Americans 500 thousand shells that could be received by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The US is dragging South Korea into a standoff with China, its main economic partner.
Shoigu’s visit could be a “signal” to Seoul to take into account the possible risks of retaliatory actions. Russia may have other interests in the Northeast Asian region, such as access to North Korean ports on the coast of the Japanese (East) Sea. The railway to these ports from Primorsky Krai is laid, the gauge corresponds to the Russian one.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken linked the visit of the Russian delegation led by the Minister of Defense with plans to establish arms supply channels for the Russian Armed Forces. Vedant Patel, deputy head of the State Department’s press service, expressed hope that Moscow and Beijing will influence Pyongyang to ease tensions in the region.
Obviously, the West, having decided to strengthen and expand military-political alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, is concerned that Russia, China and North Korea will go the same way, the British Daily Express reacted to the visit. In Tokyo, officials said they were analyzing information about North Korea’s military policies, including its cooperation with China and Russia.
We keep traditions, sent a signal
The Russian delegation laid flowers at the liberation monument in Pyongyang, which was erected in gratitude to the Soviet soldiers who fell in the battles during the liberation of Korea in 1945.
Vladimir Putin in his message noted that “Soviet servicemen who fought shoulder to shoulder with Korean patriots, including pilots who made tens of thousands of sorties, made a significant contribution to the defeat of the enemy [during the 1950-53 war],” the head of the Russian state recalled.
This “historical experience of military brotherhood”, the President of the Russian Federation continued, “has enduring value, serves as a reliable support for the further development of ties between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in politics, economy, and security”.
Sergei Shoigu also handed Kim Jong-un a gift from the Russian president. In 1948, when the DPRK was formed, Joseph Stalin presented his grandfather Kim Il Sung with an armored railway car. Today it is a museum exhibit, but it has become a tradition for North Korean leaders to come to Russia as a special train.
Then there was the war, which ended with the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement, which was signed by the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Kim Il Sung, commander of the Chinese volunteers Marshal Peng Dehuai, and the commander-in-chief of the UN troops, American General Mark Wayne Clark.
After the signing of the Armistice Agreement, Kim Il Sung’s second official visit to Moscow in September 1953 was organized “in an aviation format.” Then, the new leadership of the USSR, the North Korean leader proposed to convene a “political conference to peacefully resolve the Korean issue”.
According to archival data, ten months before the signing of the Armistice Agreement, secret negotiations between Stalin, Kim Il Sung and Marshal Peng Dehuai took place in Moscow in September 1952. We discussed military and economic assistance, which the DPRK needed, as well as issues of interaction in the war that was going on in Korea. So that Russia, the DPRK and China have a history of trilateral cooperation in an environment that threatens their interests.
Who knows, maybe history repeats itself, but on a qualitatively new round? Sergei Shoigu’s visit to the DPRK and the way the Russian delegation was received in Pyongyang suggests that the parties equally understand where threats to the interests of their national security and the Northeast Asian region come from.
China, Russia and the DPRK face threats from the United States in the Korean Peninsula zone, in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. “Three countries are sending a strong message to the United States,” the Global Times said on this issue.