LONDON – The daughter of French Socialist businessman and politician Jean-Marie Cambacérès has spent a week at a summer camp in North Korea, says state newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
Jayadevi Cambacérès, who is 19, spent time at the international children’s camp in Songdowon on the east coast of the country, learning about North Korean history and camping.
In an article about her vacation titled ‘That’s Why We Came Here’, Cambacérès writes that she “learned a great deal about the Korean Party and Government’s popular policies”. She is also reported to have praised the “Korean nation’s independent spirit and their beautiful mental and moral features”.
Ms. Cambacérès says that her father, who is an expert on Asian affairs and is married to the granddaughter of post-independence Cambodian statesman Norodom Sihanouk, taught her about Korea from a young age.
She also says a picture her father had taken with the late Kim Il Sung “is preserved as a treasure of the family”.
Mr. Cambacérès has held numerous positions in the ruling French Socialist Party, including as First Secretary to former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and as National Delegate to the International Secretariat of the Socialist Party.
He was also a member of the National Assembly from 1988 to 1993 and mayor of the town of Sommières, and head the French-Asian Association.
This is not the first time Ms. Cambacérès has visited the DPRK; the French-Asian Association website hosts an album of her and her father paying a visit in August 2009.
North Korea has been encouraging visits to the Songdowon summer camp since its opening in 1960, a practice which echoes the Cold War-era “Young Pioneer” exchanges organized by the USSR and East Germany.
The Songdowon summer camp has hosted thousands of international children from countries including China, Russia, Nigeria, Mongolia, Mexico, Syria, Tanzania, and Thailand, and, at least in the past, hosted children from disadvantaged backgrounds with parents ideologically sympathetic to the DPRK.
The camp was visited in early June by Kim Jong Un, with state media outlet KCNA reporting at the time that it was the “firm determination of the WPK [Workers Party of Korea] to successfully remodel the camp closely associated with the leadership exploits of the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as required by the new century”.
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Picture: Rodong Sinmun