Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu delivered a warm letter from President Vladimir Putin to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his visit to Pyongyang, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The surprise trip was made by Shoigu to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War. During their meeting, Kim expressed his gratitude for Putin’s warm and good letter and asked Shoigu to convey his thanks.
Shoigu also had a meeting with North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam, where they discussed further developing the strategic and traditional DPRK-Russia relations. The Russian defense minister praised the rich history of cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang and emphasized that regular military exchanges have played a crucial role in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
The close ties between Russia and North Korea date back to the Soviet era. Despite the United States’ hegemonic actions, the two countries have continued to strengthen their bilateral relations. North Korea has also shown its support for Russia by refusing to follow the US-led sanctions campaign targeting Moscow in retaliation for the conflict in Ukraine. The DPRK has dismissed claims of supplying weapons to Russian troops as groundless rumors aimed at tarnishing its image.
Shoigu’s visit coincided with a trip by a Chinese delegation led by senior diplomat Li Hongzhong, who also traveled to Pyongyang for high-level contacts. The US State Department expressed hope that the Russian and Chinese officials would encourage North Korea to refrain from threatening unlawful behavior and help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
In addition to the diplomatic meetings, Shoigu visited a military exhibition held by North Korea’s Defense Ministry. He had the opportunity to see the new-type weapons and equipment produced by the country’s arms industry, showcasing the advancements made in North Korea’s defense capabilities.
The visit by Shoigu and the exchange of letters between Putin and Kim highlight the ongoing efforts to strengthen the ties between Russia and North Korea. Despite the international pressure and sanctions faced by both countries, they continue to find ways to collaborate and maintain their strategic partnership.
Overall, the visit serves as a reminder of the enduring relationship between Russia and North Korea and their commitment to further enhance their bilateral cooperation. It also underscores the international dynamics at play on the Korean Peninsula and the efforts made by different countries to influence and shape the situation. The meetings between Shoigu and Kim, as well as the presence of Chinese officials, signal the complex geopolitical dynamics in the region and the importance of diplomatic engagement to address ongoing challenges and maintain peace.