As N. Korea Displays Nukes, a Message From Putin

Russian leader thanked North for its 'firm support' amid Victory Day celebrations in Pyongyang
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2023 9:08 AM CDT
Putin Thanks North Korea for Its 'Militant Friendship'
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.   (Donat Sorokin/Tass Host Photo Agency Pool Photo via AP)

Pyongyang hosted quite a military parade Thursday evening, complete with tens of thousands of spectators, a display of North Korea's nuclear weaponry, and delegates from Russia and China. The event, marking the 70th anniversary of the armistice that stopped the fighting in the Korean War, also saw a special message highlighted by state media from Vladimir Putin, who gave a shoutout to the North's "firm support" for Russia in its war against Ukraine and praised the two nations' "militant friendship," reports CNBC.

That support and Pyongyang's "solidarity with Russia on key international issues" show their united front "to counter the policy of the Western group which hinders the establishment of the truly multipolarized and just world order," read Putin's letter, delivered by Russian delegates who joined the Victory Day festivities, according to the Korean Central News Agency. Putin didn't elaborate on exactly what kind of "support" North Korea has been offering, but CNN notes that last year, US officials said the North was hawking "millions of rockets and artillery shells" to Russia so it could continue to wage war in Ukraine.

In his letter, Putin also promised to boost economic, political, and security ties with Kim Jong Un's regime. Per the AP, the parade in Kim Il Sung Square kicked off with a warmup presentation of surveillance and attack drones, followed by the arrival in a limo of Kim, who took to the balcony overlooking the square flanked by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chinese ruling party official Li Hongzhong. The highlight of the night: the rolling out of the North's new Hwasong-17 and Hwasong-18 ICBMs, which were recently flight-tested.

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Some analysts say the fact that Russian and Chinese delegates were in attendance is worrisome, per CNN. It "raises serious questions about Beijing enabling Pyongyang's threats to global security," while Kim giving Shoigu a tour of North Korea's arms exhibition a day earlier should spur "UN member states ... [to] increase vigilance for observing and penalizing sanctions violations," says Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. (More Vladimir Putin stories.)

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