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Seoul and Pyongyang 70 years after ceasefire

Posted July. 27, 2023 08:13,   

Updated July. 27, 2023 08:13


Seoul and Pyongyang are seeing completely different things happening with the 70th anniversary of signing the ceasefire agreement on July 27. In Seoul, the representatives of 22 countries that participated in the Korean War and 64 veterans of the countries gathered and ruminated on the meaning of freedom protected by the war. The veterans were impressed by the development of South Korea, saying that being a part of the Korean War was the best thing they did. In Pyongyang, the representative of Russia, which approved North Korea’s invasion of the South, and China, which dispatched troops of the People's Liberation Army, strengthened security cooperation with the North. The representatives of the two countries will attend a military parade to mark the ‘Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War.’

The two Koreas have interpreted the meaning of the war. However, North Korea’s intention to hold a large-scale military parade by inviting high-ranking officials of Russia and China should be investigated at this moment when the global order is being reorganized. North Korea opened its national borders for the first time in three years and six months since the outbreak of COVID-19 and resumed diplomacy by invitation. The country introduced a law to justify its preemptive use of nuclear weapons last year and committed multiple missile provocations but ended up not gaining much from the West.

What’s noticeable about Chinese and Russian officials’ visits to North Korea is their status. Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu visited the North in a full-dress uniform, leading a military delegation. He left Moscow despite the chaotic situation with Ukraine’s counterattack and Wagner Group’s revolt, which signals that he may have an important purpose other than attending the parade. From China, Li Hongzhong, a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party visited Pyongyang while the-then vice president of China led a delegation 10 years ago.

North Korea has been supporting wars on Russia’s side. There are suspicions that North Korea has been secretly helping Russia, whose stock of weapons and ammunition is getting lower. North Korea may pursue more explicit military cooperation with Russia on the excuse of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Ukraine. There is a possibility for military cooperation between the two, where North Korea supplies ammunition and conventional weapons to Russia and receives advanced fighter jets in return. The South Korean government, which announced its intention to provide military help to Ukraine, has a lot to consider.

President Yoon will attend a trilateral summit between South Korea, the U.S., and Japan next month and discuss the ‘trio system,’ which will stand against North Korea, China, and Russia. North Korea, China, and Russia are also heavily focused on how to respond to the new Cold War era, as seen in the case of Pyongyang on Tuesday and Wednesday. The contrast between Seoul and Pyongyang, which are marking their 70th anniversary of the ceasefire, indicated difficult challenges ahead of South Korea’s security authorities. South Korea needs to maintain communication with China and Russia regarding North Korea’s nuclear issues, security, and economy. The government should monitor close ties between the North and Russia and preemptively remove risk factors. In addition, it needs to control the pace by voicing its opinions that could benefit South Korea’s national interest to its allies while taking a step back to avoid standing out too much.