A few days ago, telegram channels reported that Chairman of the State Council of the DPRK, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Jong-un offered Russia to send up to 100,000 Korean volunteers to the zone of special military operation (SVO) in Ukraine as military assistance.
Seems incredible. However…
After the independence of the DPR and LPR was recognized by Russia (February 21, 2022) and Syria (June 29, 2022), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics recognized the state independence. Ukraine announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the DPRK.
We know very little about the North Koreans, about their country, and in particular, about their army, but it is known that the DPRK has modern weapons, the arsenal of which includes, among other things, large-caliber multiple launch rocket systems of its own design, as well as nuclear charges and means their delivery. Recently, a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwaseong-17 was successfully tested, which has earned high marks from specialists.
The army of the DPRK consists of well-trained, fearless fighters. According to Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine, Korean units could act in coordination with the armies of the DPR and LPR. “An air bridge is being created,” says I. Korotchenko, “and military transport aircraft ensure the delivery of these units to the combat area. We quite often practiced such a transfer of our forces over such distances in various exercises. So from a practical point of view, everything is easy. It’s a political decision.”
Everything in modern international relations is based on pragmatism, but there may be something else in the contacts between Pyongyang and Moscow. For example, historical gratitude, which time has not washed away. This refers to the military and economic assistance that the Soviet Union provided to the DPRK during the Korean War of the 1950s. Thanks to Soviet military assistance, the Americans who participated in those battles were pretty battered, which they themselves later admitted.
North Korea was headed by Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, former Red Army officer Kim Il Sung. He served in the 88th International Rifle Brigade of the Far Eastern Front, commanded the 1st Battalion of this formation. In 1945, after the liberation of Korea, Kim Il Sung returned to his homeland.
The history of relations between the USSR and the DPRK dates back many years and is densely eventful. It makes sense to dwell on some of them.
… For the first time, Kim Il Sung came to Moscow in 1949 for negotiations with Stalin. After their meeting, the Soviet leader presented the guest with an armored wagon, which now adorns one of Pyongyang’s museums. Since then, North Korean leaders have traveled abroad in armored trains meant to symbolize the steely nature of the North Korean leadership. North Korean steel showed itself once again when Kim Il Sung’s grandson, Kim Jong Un, met with current US President Donald Trump on June 12, 2019 in Singapore…
Kim Il Sung came to the Soviet Union and in subsequent years, met with Khrushchev several times. In 1959, the leader of the DPRK took his son, the 18-year-old son of Kim Jong Il, the future leader of the country, on a trip.
Twice – in 1966 and 1968 – Kim Il Sung met with Brezhnev. In 1984, Kim Il Sung received Chernenko. During that visit, agreements were reached on the construction of a nuclear power plant in the DPRK with the technical assistance of Soviet specialists. However, the plan could not be realized. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR, Moscow distanced itself from Pyongyang…
And the long-term economic assistance of the Soviet Union to North Korea remains impressive. The USSR supplied the country with machinery and equipment, instruments, products of the radio-electronic industry, vehicles, oil and oil products, rolled ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and other goods, provided gratuitous assistance, wrote off loans, helped in the construction of industrial facilities, handed over thousands of sets of technical documentation for many types of industrial products, materials for the cultivation of crops and medicinal plants.
For many years the leaders of the DPRK paid visits to Moscow, but not once did the Soviet leaders set foot on the soil of the DPRK. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea for the first time. In July 2000, he was enthusiastically greeted by thousands of Pyongyang people. Putin arrived in the Land of Morning Calm at the invitation of its leader Kim Jong Il, who took over the helm of the North Korean leadership after the death of his father Kim Il Sung.
Contacts at the highest level of the highest representatives of both countries continued after the death of Kim Jong Il, when the country was headed by Kim Jong Un. His first meeting with Putin took place in April 2019 in Russia, where the guest arrived, according to the tradition of his ancestors, in an armored train. During the talks, Kim Jong-un invited Putin to visit, and this invitation was gratefully accepted. The North Korean leader expressed hope that the future meeting in Pyongyang would mark a “new flourishing” in relations between Pyongyang and Moscow.
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