Kim Jong Un’s huge portraits of Putin plastered all over his HQ walls are revealed – as he gives Shoigu a tour before gorging on wine and lobster
- The North Korean leader was hosting a banquet at his Pyongyang headquarters
- Kim and Shoigu have held talks this week showing the country’s support for war
Kim Jong Un decorated his headquarters with huge portraits of Russian president Vladimir Putin while hosting the country’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu.
The North Korean leader hosted a banquet on Thursday evening for the visiting Russian defence delegation at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party headquarters in Pyongyang.
Bizarrely, a large portrait of Putin was seen in the background as Kim and Shoigu walked together down a corridor on their way to the banquet.
The Russian leader’s face was seen looming over the pair from a wall opposite a second portrait of the North Korean dictator, as shown by images released by North Korea’s official Central News Agency (NKCA) on Friday.
In extraordinary scenes, a giant picture of the two leaders shaking hands also overshadowed the banquet hall as the officials sat down to gorge on wine and lobster.
Kim Jong-Un (left) has decorated his residence with huge portraits of Russian president Vladimir Putin while hosting the country’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu (centre)
The North Korean leader hosted a banquet on Thursday evening for the visiting Russian defence delegation at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party headquarters in Pyongyang – and were overlooked by a giant portrait of Putin
The united image of the leaders shaking hands was taken during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia in 2019.
The parade followed meetings between Kim and Shoigu this week that demonstrated North Korea’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Shoigu’s visit is the first by Moscow’s top defence official since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union.
READ MORE: Kim Jong-un gives Sergei Shoigu a tour of North Korea’s arsenal of ICBMs as Russian defence chief looks for new weapons
The meetings have added to suspicions that North Korea is willing to supply arms to Russia, whose war efforts have been compromised by defence procurement and inventory problems.
North Korean state media also highlighted a message sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who thanked Kim for ‘firmly supporting’ his war efforts in Ukraine.
Putin said that interests between Moscow and Pyongyang were aligning as they counter the ‘collective West in its policy to stand in the way of establishing a genuinely multipolar and just world order,’ according to the Kremlin’s version of the letter.
Kim also held a luncheon and dinner banquet for Shoigu and his delegation following a second day of talks about expanding the countries’ ‘strategic and tactical collaboration and cooperation’ in defense and security, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
‘Given Russia’s need for ammunition for its illegal war in Ukraine and Kim Jong Un’s willingness to personally give the Russian defence minister a tour of North Korea’s arms exhibition, UN member states should increase vigilance for observing and penalizing sanctions violations,’ said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
He added: ‘China’s representation at North Korea’s parading of nuclear-capable missiles raises serious questions about Beijing enabling Pyongyang’s threats to global security.’
A giant picture of the two leaders shaking hands also overshadowed the banquet hall as the officials sat down to eat
The extraordinary images of the decor were released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday. Pictured in the background are Putin and Shoigu
Kim Jong-Un and visiting Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu (left) had a picture of Putin behind them as they headed to the banquet hall
Pictures showed the official meeting between Kim and the Russian defence minister
The meetings between the two have added to suspicions that North Korea is willing to supply arms to Russia
The picture displayed by Kim showed his meeting with Putin in Vladivostok, Russia in 2019
Russian and Chinese officials stood shoulder to shoulder with Kim Jong Un as they reviewed North Korea’s latest nuclear-capable missiles and new attack drones at a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korean state media showed on Friday.
The widely-anticipated parade in the capital on Thursday night commemorated the 70th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 – celebrated in North Korea as ‘Victory Day’.
China’s visitors were the country’s first such delegation since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Their appearance at events with the North’s nuclear missiles – banned by the United Nations Security Council with Chinese and Russian support – marked a contrast with previous years, when Beijing and Moscow sought to distance themselves from their neighbour’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development.
Kim, Shoigu and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Li Hongzhong talked, laughed and saluted as North Korean troops marched and weapons rolled below, photos released by North Korean state media showed, before Kim gave Shoigu a tour of a plush official building adorned with portraits of Vladimir Putin.
The parade included North Korea’s latest Hwasong-17 and Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to KCNA, which are believed to have the range to strike targets anywhere in the United States.
The event also featured a flyover by new attack and spy drones, KCNA reported.
Kim hosted a reception and had a luncheon with Shoigu, where the North Korean leader vowed solidarity with the Russian people and its military.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu observe a display of missiles during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, July 27
All smiles as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu observe a military parade in Pyongyang last night
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, toast at a banquet hall of the ruling Workers’ Party’s headquarters in Pyongyang, July 27
Shoigu praised the North Korean military as the strongest in the world, and the two discussed strategic security and defence cooperation, KCNA said.
At another meeting, Shoigu read a congratulatory speech from Russian President Putin who thanked North Korea for its support during the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, state media reported.
Washington has accused Pyongyang of providing weapons to Russia for its war effort in Ukraine, an accusation that North Korea has angrily denied.
State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Thursday the US was ‘incredibly concerned’ about ties between Moscow and Pyongyang.
Moscow has also denied conducting any arms transactions with its neighbour.
The new surveillance drones could be used to survey targets in real time, conduct damage assessment in a war and generally enhance strategic situational awareness, said Ankit Panda of the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In December five North Korean drones crossed into the South, prompting Seoul’s military to scramble fighter jets and helicopters, and increase anti-drone measures at key facilities, including the presidential office.
The new attack drones would have limited use in a war on the Korean Peninsula given their vulnerability to anti-aircraft defences, but ‘North Korea may seek to offer these drones to external customers,’ Panda said.
A Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile is driven through a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the armistice that halted fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War, on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, July 27
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (right) poses for a photo with Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) during the Russian’s visit to North Korea, July 27
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27
The drones were among the weapons displayed at an arms fair toured by Kim and Shoigu this week in Pyongyang, state media photos showed.
Putin’s defence minister is believed to have sealed secret agreements for new supplies of arms to deploy in his illegal war against Ukraine.
Shoigu remained in North Korea longer than expected – after his ministry earlier announced plans to depart on Thursday.
He was shown finally leaving early Friday, his fourth day visiting the repressive state despite the demands of the war in Ukraine where he is suffering significant setbacks in Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
Pro-war bloggers in Russia criticised him for having his eye off the ball as Ukraine steps up its military fightback.
But the fear is that a secret pact will see ammunition and drones delivered to Russia to use for yet more killing in Ukraine.
Shoigu’s visit has seen unprecedented Russian kowtowing to the 39-year-old tyrant.
In a speech at the parade, Defence Minister General Kang Sun Nam accused the United States and its allies of increasing tensions in the region.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions for its missile and nuclear programs since 2006. This includes a ban on the development of ballistic missiles.
In recent years Russia and China have opposed U.S.-led efforts to impose further sanctions on North Korea over its continued pursuit of ballistic missiles, arguing existing measures should be eased for humanitarian purposes and to help entice Pyongyang to negotiate.
The last time North Korea invited foreign government delegates for a military parade was in February 2018, when it held a low-key event that excluded Kim’s ICBMs.
A new model of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the solid-fuel Hwasong-18, is paraded at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to mark a key anniversary of the Korean War, July 27
A view of tanks displayed during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27
Soldiers participate in a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27
Soldiers march during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27
North Korea at the time was initiating diplomacy with Seoul and Washington as Kim attempted to leverage his nukes for badly needed economic benefits.
Those efforts led to a summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump that June, but the diplomacy collapsed after their second meeting in February 2019, when the Americans rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of their nuclear capabilities.
Kim has since ramped up the development of the nuclear arms that he sees as his strongest guarantee of survival while berating ‘gangster-like’ US sanctions and pressure.
The Chinese and Russian presence at events with banned ballistic missiles cast doubts on those countries’ willingness to enforce sanctions, said Leif-Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
‘It doesn’t help when two permanent members of the UN Security Council openly support a North Korean regime that violates human rights and flouts resolutions banning its nuclear and missile development,’ Easley said.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, ‘All members of Security Council and, frankly, all member states of the UN, share the same responsibility to uphold Security Council resolutions.’
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