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70-Year ‘Victory’ Commemoration: North Korea, China, Russia on Ukraine Alignment

Representatives from Russia and China, North Korea’s main allies in the Korean War, gathered in Pyongyang this week to commemorate North Korea’s Victory Day in the conflict that ravaged the Korean Peninsula.

seven decades ago, as they united over another very modern conflict, Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a mastermind behind Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a tour of a defense exhibition in Pyongyang.

Images from North Korean media show them passing a variety of weapons, from Pyongyang’s nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to its newest drones.

According to a report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun Nam expressed Pyongyang’s complete support “for the just struggle of the Russian army and people to defend the sovereignty and security of the country” at a state reception for Shoigu and the Russian delegation in a reference to the conflict in Ukraine.

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Chinese and Russian Delegations at Armistice Anniversary

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Shoigu then made some words of his own and declared that the Korean People’s Army (KPA) has “become the strongest army in the world” and promised to continue working together to maintain this status.

Kim Song Nam, a senior North Korean official, thanked Chinese forces for their participation in the Korean War at a reception on Wednesday for the group that Li Hongzhong is a member of.

Kim Song Nam said North Korea “would not forget forever the heroic feats and merits of the brave soldiers who recorded a brilliant page in history.”

According to Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program, the presence of the Chinese and Russian delegations at the armistice anniversary “underscores the importance Pyongyang attaches to its relationships with both countries.”

Because of how close Pyongyang and Moscow have grown since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Shoigu’s participation is particularly notable.

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