The delegation from Russia led by Sergei Shoigu, the country`s defence minister, was reportedly in North Korea [DPRK] to attend the 70th anniversary of the Armistice that put an end to the Korean War in 1953. In addition, a delegation from the Chinese Communist Party, led by Politburo member Li Hongzhong, joined the group.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, North Korea extended an invitation to a Russian delegation to attend the 'Victory Day' celebrations, which featured a substantial military parade. The ministry stated that this occasion was aimed at improving the cooperative ties between the two nations. This marked the first documented visit of a foregin delegation to North Korea since the COVID-19 pandemic.
On its Telegram channel, the ministry also released a concise video of Sergei Shoigiu being warmly welcomed by a North Korean military representative on a red carpret at an airport tarmac. As per the reports, the Russian delegation visited North Korea from the 25th to the 27th of July. During the event, Kim Jong-un, Sergei Shoigu, and Li Hongzhong were observed standing 'arm-in-arm' together.
This meeting between the two nations took place against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has significantly heightened tension in the international diplomatic arena. The recent weapons tests by North Korea are also seen as a response to joint military drills between the US and South Korea. The West and the Security Council in particular are thought to be under diplomatic attack by these particular events.
The event witnessed the customary military logistics, accompained by the latest Hwasong-17 and Hwasong-18 Intercontinental Ballistics Missiles (ICBMs), which are believed to possess the range to strike targets anywhere in the United States. Underwater attack drones were showcased, and new attack and spy drones performed a flyover. These drones bear a striking resemblance to the U.S.- made RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper drones.
The Chinese Soft Corner
While China asserts that it "strictly" implements U.N. sanctions on North Korea, its involvement in the event demonstrates the Chinese Communist Party`s (CCP) resistance to United Nations sanctions against North Korea. Furthermore, it reflects a forceful response to a letter from the G7, the European Union, and other concerned parties urging Beijing to halt Pyongyang from evading restrictions through the use of Chinese waters.
It is also evident that Beijing neglects the humanitarian laws and aspects concerning North Korean 'defectors'; thus, it can be assumed that Beijing has always had commitments with Pyongyang. This is because, according to the Human Rights Organisations in Seoul and as well as Human Rights Watch, both China and North Korea make profits from sending back the defectors to North Korea under a 1986 bilateral border protocol. But according to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as the UN Convention against Torture, China is under the obligation not to forcibly repatriate any defector who would be at risk of persecution or torture upon return.
Furthermore, when North Korea recently carried out its 'attempted' satellite launch, China and Russia disregarded the US`s call for the U.N. Security Council to intervene. Instead, China pointed the finger at Washington for raising tensions on the Korean peninsula. The US claims to keep the door of diplomacy open, but has conistently engaged in military activities in the peninsula and its surroundings, according to Geng Shuang, China`s Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Geng Shuang expressed his concerns during the U.N. meeting.
The Russian Involvement
There have been numerous claims suggesting that North Korea has been assisting Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, notwithstanding Pyongyang`s official denial. According to the US Defence Departmment, North Korea has been providing Russia with ammunition, particularly artillery shells, in exchange for Russian flour, gas, and oil. It is widely known that when the war broke out last year, North Korea ordered construction and trading companies connected to its defence ministry to relocate to Eastern Ukraine,the current site of the skrimish. Analysts say that North Korea is receiving higher wages from Russia than it traditinally receives.
Despite all previous denials regarding invovment in the Russian-Ukraine war, at the Victory Day event, the North Korean Defence Minister, Kang Sun Nam, expressed Pyongyang`s full support "for the just struggle of the Russian army and people to defend the sovereignty and security and security of the country," according to a report from the state-run Korean Central Agency (KCNA).
Moreover, the recent joint excercise conducted by Russia and China in the Sea of Japan serves as a direct indication to Americans allies that they are steadfast in their commitment to security and share a common objective against potential threats. The Russian Defence Ministry stated that this joint excersise aims to bolster naval cooperation between the two nations and uphold a peaceful atmosphere in the Asia-Pacific region. Nonethless, South Korea and Japan have expressed apprehensions regarding such militaristic actions occuring in their vicinity.
It should be noted that during the UN meeting, both China and Russia disregarded the US`s request for the U.N. Security Council to interveve in the matter of the North Korean satellite launch. This prompts one to consider the possiblity of a trio teaming up against the intrerests of the US allies, particularly in light of the overt support provided by the United States to Ukraine.
What do US allies think?
Both the United States and South Korea have accused North Korea of violating numerous UN resolutions with its recent missile test. US and South Korean officials strongly condemned the launch of a long-range ballistic missile as a serious provocative act that jeoparadized the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the global community in a joint statement released shortly after the test. The officials made it clear that this action flagrantly violates the resolutions of the UN Security Counil.
The recent test has also been condemned by Japan. It is evident that Washington has been encouraging its allies and uneasy neighbours of China and North Korea to closely collaborate in countering the threats posed by both countries. Consequently, South Korea and Japan emerge as potential allies entrusted with safeguarding Washington`s intrerests.
It is worth noting that just before the missile launch, senior military officials from the United States, Japan, and South Korea convened in Hawaii for a rare tilateral summit. This clearly indicates that North Korea has conistently been responsive to gatherings organized by its rivals and remains steadfast in pursuing its agenda.
Is this ongoing tussle constant, or is something new taking place?
The enduring enigma for the Western powers, particularly the United States, lies in the challenge of steering North Korea towards a more constructive path. One must bear in mind that North Korea continues to be engaged in an ongoing conflict with South Korea since the Korean War, thus implying that, from a technical standpoint, North Korea is effectively in a state of direct conflict with the USA.
Up until this time, no major changes have occured in the context of warfare and strategy in the Pacific region. However, it sould be noted that North Korea is making strides in certain technologies, which were showcased during their Victory Day event. Nevertheless, it appears that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is excreting influence on the dynamics of the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the combined actions of these "Three" nations present the ultimate challenge for NATO.
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