Regnsky (regnsky) wrote in omonatheydidnt,

North Korea to Northern Norway

North Koreans examines the peaceful border between Russia and Norway.
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Ri Young Man, Ryu Sung Rim and Morten Traavik.

"Norway and North Korea are closer than you think," said Ryu Sung Rim, vice president of the European Department at the North Korean Committee for Cultural Relations.

In minus twenty degrees the representative of one of the world's most closed dictatorships scouts out over Bøkfjorden in Kirkenes.

Ryu, who represents the influential circles in the North Korean government, said that North Korea wants more cooperation and cultural exchanges with Norway.

"There is only one country in between us - and that is Russia. You have the western border of Russia, while we have the easterly one, "he explains.

The whole last week Ryu and his adviser Ri Yong Man attended the festival Barents Spektakel - which aims to make culture across borders. Something Ryu got inspired by:

"In our country we share borders with Russia and China, and in these border areas, we can have our own, similar cultural exchanges."

They also got a close look at the Norwegian-Russian border cooperation:

"Culture is very important for a cross-border cooperation. When they visited it was in place to show them the border and tell them about our relationship with the Russians, "said the Norwegian border commissioner Ivar Magne Sakserud.

He took the two-man delegation to the border station Storskog. After the tour they got a taste of one of the benefits of cross-border cooperation:

"I asked if they had tasted of Russian vodka, and it had not, so when they got a little taste, "says Sakserud.

Not the easiest job in the world
"This meeting is important, not only culturally but also politically," says the artist Morten Traavik.

"They are well aware of how the world looks at them. So they have not exactly representative of the world's easiest job," he continues.

It is Traavik who have invited the North Koreans to Norway. He has on two occasions been allowed into the country to develop art projects. Soon he will be back on the same errand.

"They have received a lot of input in terms of co-existence across borders. The border between North Korea and South Korea is charged, but we must not forget that not long ago the Norwegian-Russian border was militarized. Now they can see a constructive cooperation, which they can tell home about. My thought is to inspire them in that area," said Traavik.

He believes that dialogue between North Korea and Norway would have been difficult to conduct without culture as a pioneer.

"There are a few eyebrows that go up in the air when they hear that I'm working with one of the world's "most evil regimes", but with cultural work, one can go further than what the politicians can because they are more bound by the current high political situation." Traavik said.

Yesterday the North Koreans was in Oslo for the tour at the National Theatre, and meetings with the Foreign Ministry.
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From Morten Traavik art project "Rock Steady North Korea".


Translated by me, which is why the structure of the whole thing is so damn bad. But I found the article interesting and wanted to share. If you see something wrong tell me and I'll fix it.
Tags: north korea, political news

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