North Korea invited visiting Chinese delegates and Russian artists to a paramilitary parade featuring rocket launchers pulled by trucks and tractors, state media said Saturday, in leader Kim Jong Un’s latest effort to display his ties with Moscow and Beijing in the face of deepening confrontations with Washington.
The event in the capital, Pyongyang, which began Friday night to celebrate North Korea’s 75th founding anniversary that fell on Saturday, came amid expectations that Kim will travel to Russia soon for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that could focus on North Korean arm sales to refill reserves drained by the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine.
While China has sent a delegation led by Vice Premier Liu Guozhong to the North Korea’s anniversary celebrations, Russia sent a military song and dance group.
South Korean media speculated that the lack of Russian government officials at the festivities in Pyongyang could be related to preparations for a summit between Kim and Putin, which Washington expects within the month. According to some U.S. reports, it could happen as early as next week.