North Korea Invites Russian Children to ‘Vacation’ at Nation’s Youth Camps

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea suggested Russian schoolchildren vacation at North Korean youth camps. This is the latest attempt between the two countries to build a strong relationship.

Im Cheon Il, North Korea’s general consul in Nakhodka, presented the idea to Vladimir Vasilyev, Yakitia’s head of foreign affairs. Nakhodka is 5,767 miles east of Moscow and located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, only a few hundred miles from the border of North Korea.

“Russia and Korea have traditionally had friendly relations, but now the political relationship between our countries is developing more productively than ever before,” stated Im.

Kim Jong-un reopened the Songdowon International Children’s Camp in July 2014. Over 300 children from Russia, China, Vietnam, Ireland, and Tanzania attended the eight-day extravaganza. Usually, the camps are for children in other communist countries, but the hermit kingdom has even expressed a willingness to accept children from America. Children there spend the days “cooking, swimming, boating, and mingling with their North Korean peers,” and it costs $270 per child. The cabins include air conditioning, televisions, and video games.

The move is not a surprise, since Russia continues to slide out of favor with other nations over its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Kim Jong-un to the 70th anniversary of Victory Day in Russia, which is when the Soviet Union defeated the Nazis. However, The Moscow Times reports that only 26 leaders confirmed attendance to the event. Those leaders do not include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, and former Polish Prime Minister and current European Council President Donald Tusk. The only EU leaders attending are leaders from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Putin criticized the world leaders who turned down the invitation.

“Their goal is clear: to undermine the power and moral authority of modern Russia, to deprive her of her status as a victorious country – with all the ensuing international and legal consequences, to split and pit the public against each other, to use historic speculation for geopolitical games,” insisted Putin. “Sometimes it sounds like obvious nonsense.”