As China and Russia sent delegations to North Korea to mark the 70th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War, experts warned that the turbulent world today shares some similarities with the world when the Cold War began.
It is important, they said, that countries, including the US and its allies, learn from lessons of history to safeguard the hard-won peace together rather than adding to the existing tensions with more military acts and provocations.
According to North Korean state media the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Jong-un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and president of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, visited the cemetery of martyrs of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) in Hoechang County of South Phyongan Province.
Kim said that “the noble life of the CPV martyrs would be immortal in the hearts of the Korean people and that the history and tradition of unity between the peoples of the two countries, who forged the bonds of kinship in the sacred struggle for accomplishing the cause of anti-imperialist independence and socialism and have resolutely smashed the reactionary offensive of the imperialists by dint of justice and truth, would be reliably carried forward through generations,” KCNA reported.
Mao Ning, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at the routine press conference on Wednesday that Kim’s tribute shows that the party, the government and the people of North Korea highly cherish the great contribution made by the CPV, and this also shows the development and inheritance of the China-North Korea traditional friendship in the new historical period.
The armistice of the Korean War has different meanings to those involved. China commemorates it as the victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, and North Korea commemorates it as the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War, while the US is normally low-profile on this occasion as the US military and its allies failed to realize their strategic goal and were forced to signed an armistice after a series of battlefield failures.
At the invitation of North Korea, China and Russia both sent senior delegations to attend the events. China sent a Chinese Party and government delegation led by Li Hongzhong, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, and Russia sent a military delegation led by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shoigu later held a meeting with North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam for talks that he said would “help strengthen cooperation between our defense departments,” AP reported.
The People’s Liberation Army Daily, the flagship newspaper of the PLA, published a commentary on Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.
The article read “In the past, Chairman Mao Zedong made comments on the US, saying that ‘they won’t be reasonable as long as they don’t have to, and if they can be a little bit reasonable, they are being forced to do so.’ Today, some countries are still unchanged.”
“The victory has brought us many priceless treasures, including respect and fear from our adversaries and long-standing peace. However, the victory is not a bankbook that can keep its value forever, unless we keep bringing new victories,” said the article.
Han Xiandong, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Wednesday that “just like 1950s, the world order today is in a stage of transition and reconstruction, and there are increasingly severe competitions and confrontations between major powers.”
The difference is the world has experienced decades-long globalization, therefore countries are deeply intertwined, despite having different political systems and ideologies, Han said.
“Unfortunately, a Cold War mentality and hegemonic thoughts are rising sharply among Western elites, especially in the US, and they dominate policymaking in major Western powers, so the danger of repeating the mistakes they made during the Cold War is getting increasingly high,” said Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University.
Han said that by commemorating the armistice, all parties should cherish the hard-won peace in the region, and should jointly oppose unilateralism and hegemonic acts that could provoke new tensions or new conflicts.