A school in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk is scheduled to teach a new course focused on helping students deepen the “time-tested friendship” between Russia and North Korea, according to a local Gubernia news portal. Portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un occupy the school’s walls, emphasizing the desired friendship promoted by the course.
“The opening of such a class is yet one more friendly act [to go] into the coffer of relations between Russia and North Korea,” said Khabarovsk Mayor Alexander Sokolov, according to the Gubernia report, the Moscow Times reported. “The friendship of our people has been tested by time, starting from the years during World War II when Russian soldiers came to assist North Koreans.”
Twenty students at school No. 5 in Khabarovsk -- located about 19 miles from the Chinese border and about 470 miles from the North Korean border -- are scheduled to take the new course at the start of the semester. The course could expand to more students in the future, and the Korean language could be added to instruction, according to Russian and North Korean officials. One other school in Khabarovsk also has been teaching a course about Russian-North Korean friendship.
“Over time, that friendship has only grown stronger,” said Sokolov, Gubernia reported. "Our task is to strengthen our warm relations at all levels, starting with students and ending with cities.”
North Korea is also on board with the idea; a North Korean consular official was quoted saying the course “will help the children of our countries to get in touch with each others' traditions and culture.”
North Korea and Russia had forged a “year of friendship” pariah alliance in March, the Guardian reported. The two countries announced they would be deepening their economic and political ties, and North Korean state media said the newfound friendship emerged to mark the 70th anniversary of “Korea’s liberation and the victory in the great Patriotic War in Russia,” referencing the defeats of Japan and Germany in 1945.