North Korea is hoping to learn from Russia’s experience handling large influxes of foreign tourists through further cooperation between the two countries’ security ministries, Moscow’s embassy in Pyongyang reported Wednesday.
The news came in a post on the embassy’s Facebook page recapping a Tuesday meeting between Ambassador Alexander Matsegora and North Korean Councilor of the Ministry of People’s Security (MPS) Ri Song Chol, who in late December led a delegation to meet with Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) representatives in Moscow.
According to the Russian embassy, law enforcement was the “primary topic of conversation” at those meetings, in which the Russian police shared “experience they gained during the  World Cup, when our country was visited by tens of thousands of fans and tourists.”
“For the DPRK, where large-scale construction of a number of large tourist complexes is underway, designed to receive foreign guests, this experience is of serious practical interest,” the Russian embassy said.
It is unclear, however, to what extent North Korean representatives in the talks raised the subject of construction projects and plans to receive large numbers of tourists.
The two Koreas agreed in September last year to restart cooperation at the Mt. Kumgang joint resort, among other projects, “as soon as the conditions are established”: a move that would likely result in an influx of visitors from the South to the DPRK.
But Wednesday’s report suggests Pyongyang is also expecting large numbers of visitors following the opening of the massive east-coast Wonsan Kalma beach resort project, officially slated for completion later this year, and in the aftermath of a city-wide overhaul of the border city of Samjiyon.
Both projects are intended to attract foreign tourists, according to state media reports.
The apparent interest in improving security capabilities in the case of large influxes of tourists may also signal intentions to host larger international sporting events in the coming years.
Both Russia and North Korea will continue exchanges and “promote the implementation of existing agreements,” Wednesday’s post from the Russian embassy added.
An MVD report on a meeting between Deputy Minister Igor Zubov and the DPRK delegation on December 26 also mentioned the two sides’ shared interest in “resuming delegation exchanges.”
North Korean state media did not report on the details of the delegation’s trip to Moscow, only saying it lasted from December 22-30.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCNA
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