As regional tensions rise with the US sending a nuclear-armed submarine to South Korea, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu met North Korean counterpart Kang Sun Nam Wednesday in Pyongyang, hailing bilateral cooperation and partnership.
Defence Minister Shoigu said: “For Russia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is an important partner, with which we share a common border and a rich history of cooperation.”
Footage was also released by the defence ministry of a roundtable meeting with officials, in which the Russian minister said would “contribute to strengthening cooperation between our ministries of defence”.
Russian and Chinese delegations, North Korea’s first known foreign visitors since its pandemic border closure, came to Pyongyang to attend Korean War anniversary events.
Shoigu said he was “grateful to my Korean friends for the rich programme offered. From the first minutes I felt your care and attention”.
Russia, a historic ally of North Korea, is one of a handful of nations with which it maintains friendly relations.
The Russian official’s visit comes after a failed mutiny launched by the Wagner chief late last month in which Yevgeny Prigozhin marched towards Moscow to topple the leadership in Moscow.
The visit also comes days after the heightened tensions with the US and its allies with Korea exchanging nuclear threats with North Korea responding with its nuclear weapons buildup and testing.
On Monday, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles off the east coast, according to the South Korean military which fell outside the Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Both the US and its allies are increasing their military cooperation to meet any aggression from North Korea, with military drills and combat readiness. Last week, US nuclear-capable submarine arrived South Korean coast citing tensions with North Korea.
North Korea responded aggressively with a nuclear threat saying such a deployment could meet the criteria for its use of nuclear weapons on Seoul.
In a statement Monday, the US military added the launches posed no immediate threat to US personnel and territory or to US allies.