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N. Korea warmly receives Chinese delegation in Pyongyang for Victory Day celebrations: state media

By Yonhap

Published : July 27, 2023 - 09:09

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This photo on Wednesday, shows a Russian delegation led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) that arrived in Pyongyang the previous day to attend the North's commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, celebrated as Victory Day in the North. (Yonhap) This photo on Wednesday, shows a Russian delegation led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (right) that arrived in Pyongyang the previous day to attend the North's commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, celebrated as Victory Day in the North. (Yonhap)

North Korea has extended its "warm welcome" to a Chinese delegation that arrived in Pyongyang this week to attend the North's commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, according to state media Thursday.

The party-government delegation led by Li Hongzhong, a Chinese Communist Party Politburo member, arrived in the North's capital Wednesday to attend this week's celebrations of Victory Day, according to the state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station.

The Korean War, which started with an invasion by the North, ended with the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953. North Korea celebrates the armistice signing date as Victory Day in what it calls the Great Fatherland Liberation War.

North Korea has invited Chinese and Russian officials to its celebrations this year, marking its first foreign guests since Pyongyang's self-imposed border lockdowns over COVID-19 in early 2020.

In a speech at a welcome banquet Wednesday, Kim Sung-nam, director of the international department of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, expressed his "solemn respect" for fallen Chinese soldiers and veterans who fought alongside the North during the war.

"We will never forget their heroic service and achievements, which have written shining pages in the history of the Great Fatherland Liberation War and friendly bilateral relations," Kim said.

In return, Li said his country has a "willingness" to spur the sound and stable development of China-North Korea relations, and contribute to promoting peace and stability in the region.

The radio network said North Korea also held a separate feast for a Russian delegation, led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, which arrived in the North on Tuesday.

The visit came amid speculation that North Korea has provided arms to Russia for use in Moscow's war with Ukraine. The North has denied such allegations raised by the United States.

In a speech, the North's Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam voiced "full support" for Russia's war with Ukraine, vowing to strengthen cooperation with Russia to confront the US.

"We are in full support of the Russian army and people's fight for justice, and our army reaffirms the stance that we will enhance cooperation and solidarity with Russia in the trench of an anti-imperialist struggle," he said.

Kang and Shoigu held talks the previous day amid speculation that they may have discussed the issue of Moscow's imports of North Korean weapons.

Observers said North Korea apparently aims to use its celebrations to publicly show off its close ties with China and Russia in the face of strengthened defense cooperation among South Korea, the US and Japan against Pyongyang's provocations. (Yonhap)