Kim Shows Banned Missiles to Russian Defense Chief

Some analysts see North Korea, Russia, China as reviving Cold War-era coalition
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2023 8:51 AM CDT
In N. Korea, Cold War-Era Coalition Is Reportedly Revived
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, second left, and China's Vice Chairman of the standing committee of the country’s National People’s Congress Li Hongzhong, right, watch a performance in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, July 27, 2023.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un showed off his banned ballistic missiles to Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu on Wednesday in a sign of just how closely aligned the two countries are becoming. Delegations led by Shoigu, the first Russian defense minister to visit North Korea since the fall of the Soviet Union, and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Li Hongzhong are in the country for Thursday's "Victory Day" celebrations, marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. China and Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union, supported North Korea during the war. The three countries now "align over another very contemporary conflict—Russia's devastating invasion of Ukraine," per CNN.

At a state reception for the Russian delegation, North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun Nam said Pyongyang fully supports "the just struggle of the Russian army and people to defend the sovereignty and security of the country," according to state media. Shoigu at one point described North Korea's military as "the most powerful" in the world, per the BBC. And in touring a defense exhibition where those banned nuclear-capable missiles were on display, he showed that Moscow is at least "complacent with North Korea's ongoing nuclear modernization," says Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, per CNN.

As Reuters reports, the missiles "were banned under UN Security Council resolutions adopted with Russian and Chinese support," but now provide "a striking backdrop for a show of solidarity by three countries united by their rivalry with the US and a revival of what some analysts see as their Cold War-era coalition." Indeed, Shoigu and Li accompanied Kim to a performance "with a backdrop that included a slogan used by the Chinese army during the Korean War vowing to 'resist US aggressors.'" Kim said the visits—to wrap up with Thursday's big military parade—showed China's commitment to "attach great importance" to its friendship with North Korea and Russia's effort to deepen its "strategic and traditional" relations with the country, per Reuters. (More North Korea stories.)

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