North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to discuss military issues and the regional security environment, state media said Thursday, illustrating Pyongyang’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine as the isolated country celebrated the 70th anniversary of an armistice that halted fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.
The North Korean festivities were to be highlighted by a military parade Thursday night in the capital, Pyongyang, where Kim — possibly in the presence of Shoigu and a visiting Chinese ruling party official — could showcase his most powerful, nuclear-capable missiles designed to threaten neighboring rivals and the United States.
North Korea’s state media had not confirmed plans for a military parade. But two South Korean government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide background information, said the parade likely started around 8 p.m. with warm-up events and was still going nearly two hours later.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim and Shoigu talked Wednesday in Pyongyang and reached a consensus on unspecified “matters of mutual concern in the field of national defense and security and on the regional and international security environment.”