Sergei Shoigu was greeted with red carpets and the Russian national anthem
North Korea has rolled out the red carpet for Russia’s defense minister, with representatives from Moscow and Beijing set to attend events marking the anniversary of the Korean War, the first known foreign visitors to the country since its border was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, AFP reported.
Tomorrow, Pyongyang will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice on July 27, 1953, which ended hostilities and is marked as Victory Day in the North.
The Russian national anthem was played throughout Pyongyang International Airport, which was “wrapped in a warm atmosphere of welcome” to greet Russian General Sergei Shoigu and his delegation, the Korean Central News Agency reported.
“The flags of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation were flying and the Korean People’s Army Honor Guard was at the station in front of the terminal,” the statement said.
Shoigu was met by North Korea’s Defense Minister Kang Soon Nam, and hundreds of uniformed soldiers lined up at the airport to welcome the Russians.
The North Koreans expressed their “full support” for the Russian army and people “who are fighting to protect their country’s sovereign rights and development and interests,” the state agency added.
Russia, a historic ally of Pyongyang, is one of a handful of nations that maintain friendly relations with the North.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is staunch in his support for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and, according to Washington, supplies missiles to Russia.
Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said the fact that Russia’s defense minister flew to Pyongyang while his country was at war was “very significant.”
“Although the emergency quarantine system remains in place, Kim Jong Un may have felt the need to show something to his people at the Victory Day celebrations,” Park added.
“The presence of the Chinese and Russians can send a very united message to the United States,” he said.
Photo: Kim Jong Un at the Victory Day parade in North Korea. Source: KCNA