North Korea celebrated the anniversary of its founding on Saturday, marking 75 years since the establishment of the regime.
A military parade took place at Kim Il Sung Square, overseen by supreme leader Kim Jong Un and his young daughter, Jun-ae.
Platoons of soldiers marched down the streets of Pyongyang, joined by lines of military, civilian, and agricultural vehicles.
A political delegation from the People’s Republic of China, led by Chinese Communist Party Vice Premier Liu Guozhong, was also in attendance.
A Russian military music ensemble took part in the festivities, but an official political delegation did not participate.
It is currently being speculated whether Kim Jong Un is planning a rare state visit to Russia.
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 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.