Seoul, July 27 (EF).- North Korean authorities extended a warm welcome to a Chinese delegation invited to attend the events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War (1950-53), state media reported Thursday.
The delegation led by Li Hongzhong, member of China’s Communist Party politburo, arrived Wednesday in Pyongyang, where they were given a welcome banquet, state news agency KCNA reported.
Kim Sung-nam, North Korea’s international relations department director, gave a speech before the reception in which he spoke of his “solemn respect” for the fallen soldiers and veterans of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army who fought alongside North Korea since the late 1950s in the war.
“We will never forget his heroic service and his achievements, of which brilliant pages have been written in the history of the Great War of the Liberation of the Fatherland (the name that the North Korean regime gives to the conflict) and the friendly bilateral relations,” Kim said, according to statements from the agency.
In turn, Li said Beijing has “the desire” to boost the development of bilateral ties and help promote peace and stability in the region.
In addition to this entourage, Pyongyang also invited a Russian military delegation headed by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu – who met Wednesday with his North Korean counterpart Kang Sun-nam and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – to the anniversary events.
Both delegations are expected to witness a large military parade in Kim Il-sung Square in the North Korean capital, which will probably take place Thursday and in which the Kim regime is expected to display its latest weapons advances.
It is the first time North Korea has allowed the entry of foreign groups since it imposed a strict border policy in early 2020 to prevent the entry of covid-19.
This policy has been so strict that North Korean workers and diplomats abroad have been unable to return home for more than three years.
The decision to invite these delegations shows Pyongyang’s current closeness with Beijing and Moscow after refusing to dialogue with Seoul and Washington for years, and points to a possible more open turn by the regime on border matters.