China sending North Korean delegation amid tensions over possible Russian weapon deal
The People’s Republic of China is sending a delegation to North Korea this week.
Vice Premier Liu Guozhong will lead an envoy group to North Korea on Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of the hermit kingdom’s founding.
The international meeting was announced by North Korean state media outlet Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
North Korea will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Saturday with a state-sanctioned military parade.
The Chinese delegation was announced just days after North Korea claimed dictator Kim Jong Un is planning to travel to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The New York Times reported Monday that Kim plans to meet with Putin while both leaders attend the Eastern Economic Forum at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia. The forum, which encourages international investment in Russia’s Far East, is scheduled to run Sept. 10-13.
Putin wants North Korea to supply Russia with artillery shells and antitank missiles. In exchange, Kim wants Russia to give North Korea advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, sources told The New York Times. Additionally, Kim wants food aid for his starving nation.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan threatened retaliation if the two world leaders strike a weapons deal during a press briefing.
“[This] is not going to reflect well on North Korea and they will pay a price for this in the international community,” Sullivan said. “We will continue to call on North Korea to abide by its public commitments not to supply weapons to Russia that will end up killing Ukrainians.”
In a statement, the White House acknowledged that the U.S. expects “leader-level diplomatic engagement” on the potential arms deal to take place in Russia.
“We urge the D.P.R.K. to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” an NSC spokeswoman told the Times.
Russian officials visited North Korea recently and likely established communications for high-level talks regarding the provision of weapons, U.S. intelligence reports.
Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.