July 28, 2023
SEOUL – North Korea held a military parade Thursday night, a widely expected event to mark what it calls “Victory Day” against the US-led United Nations forces in the 1950-53 Korean War, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
It was not immediately clear whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended the parade, a venue to showcase its latest weapons and rally North Koreans. Delegations from China and Russia, who arrived in Pyongyang the previous day for the July 27 celebrations, are believed to have taken part in the event.
A Chinese delegation led by Li Hongzhong, who sits on the Communist Party of China’s 24-member Politburo and a Russian delegation headed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu mark the first foreign visits to the country since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020. The North had since sealed its borders. Kim led a tour of a weapons exhibition showcasing nuclear weapons for Shoigu.
The celebrations in the South and North come at a crucial time when the two are still at odds over what to do first between denuclearization and sanctions relief. Since at least early last year, Seoul has been looking for more powerful support from Washington, its biggest ally, to rein in Pyongyang’s aggression, while the North has been doubling down on missile tests.