Kim Jong-un honors China on anniversaryNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un marked the 65th anniversary of the armistice with a visit to a cemetery for Chinese soldiers who lost their lives in the 1950-53 Korean War, Pyongyang’s state media reported Friday.
Local analysts believed it was another display of warming ties between the allies as the North approaches denuclearization talks with the United States.
Friday marked the 65th year since the war ended with a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty, leaving both Koreas still technically at war. The North calls it Victory Day and marks it as a national holiday when it defeated U.S. imperialist forces. The Korean War, in North Korean society, is called the Fatherland Liberation War.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not give a precise date for Kim’s visit to the Martyrs Cemetery of the Chinese People’s Volunteers in Hoechang County, South Pyongan Province. But North Korean media usually reports on the leader’s activities a day later for reasons of security, which would mean the visit occurred Thursday. On the same day in Pyongyang, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho shared “profound opinions on the issues of mutual concern” including North-China relations and the “regional situation” with a Chinese delegation led by Beijing’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, according to a different KCNA report.
According to the KCNA report on Kim’s visit to the cemetery, Kim paid silent tribute to the Chinese martyrs and laid a wreath on the grave of Mao Anying, eldest son of Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, who died fighting in the Korean War.
“The blood of the Chinese comrades permeated the mountains and streams, trees and plants on this land and the soul of the Korean revolutionaries settled on the vast land of China,” Kim was quoted as saying in an English version of the KCNA article.
“The DPRK-China relations are developing into special and durable friendly relations unprecedented in history,” Kim continued, “as they were forged in firm militant friendship and genuine trust deepened at the cost of blood and life, not merely for the reason that the two countries are geographically close with each other.”
DPRK is short for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Kim went on to say his people should “take pride in having the credible fraternal country and the great friend” like China.
As Kim seeks diplomatic leverage from China in talks with the United States, South Korea’s National Defense Ministry said Friday that the North has asked for a general-level military meeting, which Seoul agreed to hold next Tuesday morning on the South’s side of the truce village of Panmunjom. The ministry said the meeting was a follow-up to the Panmunjom Declaration signed between both countries’ leaders during their first summit in April.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]