North Korean and Russian representatives signed an agreement in Pyongyang on Wednesday covering a range of cultural cooperation and exchanges, according to a report from the Russian embassy in Pyongyang.
The “Plan of Cultural Cooperation” for 2019-2020 comprises six articles, according to TASS News Agency, on areas including national heritage, the arts, library cooperation, and in potentially trade-related categories such as exhibition-holding and copyright protection.
It was signed by Russian Ambassador to the DPRK Alexander Matsegora and chairperson of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (CCRFC) Kim Jong Suk, with implementation to be overseen by the CCRFC and the Russian Ministry of Culture.
Matsegora said the agreement will “further strengthen the good-neighborly relations between our countries,” according to the Russian embassy.
The agreement marks the 31st of its type between the two parties in history, the Russian embassy said, coming as the countries prepare to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Agreement on Economic and Cultural Cooperation this March.
Planned activities to result from the latest agreement include an exchange of national films, arts performances such as “theater, ballet, and folk dances to participate in festivals,” and exchange of “visits of artists and creative figures,” TASS reporting added.
In academic pursuits, the two will “conduct joint research in the field of national cultural heritage,” and boost interaction between the Russian State Library and the DPRK Grand People’s Study House.
But the agreement also touched on topics that may be in relation to ongoing discussions over boosting economic cooperation in the near future.
In particular, the two sides agreed to “jointly hold exhibitions,” TASS reported, and the document included a section on copyright protection and a promise to work together on copyright issues going forward.
The inclusion of these topics may be related to plans to formalize new trade avenues, set to be discussed in upcoming intergovernmental committee talks next month.
Russia and North Korea will hold their 9th Meeting of the DPRK-Russian Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) for Cooperation in Trade, Economics, Science and Technology starting March 6 in Pyongyang.
Russian officials have stated the meetings will produce progress on plans to build a cross-border road bridge, the opening of a “trading house” to promote North Korean products in Russia and vice-versa, as well as trade exhibitions in Vladivostok, Pyongyang, and Moscow.
The Association of Korean Organizations in Primorsky Krai (AKORP) based in Vladivostok, which is developing a web-based trade platform as part of the trading house plans, has also expressed its openness to South Korean involvement in future economic cooperation.
Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s First Asian Department Georgy Zinoviev expressed similar hopes about South Korean participation at an event in Moscow on Tuesday, attended by DPRK ambassador to Russia Kim Hyong Jun, TASS said.
“We are interested in expanding and strengthening multidimensional cooperation between our countries,” Zinoviev said, “in giving a boost to ties on practical trajectories, including in multilateral format with the participation of South Korean partners.”
Wednesday’s agreement also follows other recent discussions in the field of cultural exchanges between Russia and the DPRK.
In late January, the consul general for the DPRK in the Far East region of Sakhalin met with acting chairman of the regional parliament Alexander Ivashov, who expressed his region’s interest in the “expansion of cooperation with the DPRK in economic, cultural, and other fields,” according to local outlet IA Sakh.
The two discussed various sports exchanges as well, including in boxing and the possibility of holding a DPRK-Russia friendship match in basketball.
Edited by Chad O’Carroll
Featured image: Facebook of the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang
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