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Good afternoon, dear participants of the conference! I, Natalia Karpova from the small town of Hasan, which stands on the border with North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, greet you. The main thing for a normal person living on a large planet named Earth is the preservation of a unique planet and the preservation of peace.

People all over the world suffer from diseases, and natural and man-made disasters. People who live on the border with some states always feel that they are messengers of peace. It seems to them that peace on the whole earth depends on life on the border. So, for us, living at the junction of three states - Russia, North Korea and China - this mission seems to be a very important link in the preservation of peace. What is it all about? This is, first of all, knowledge of the peoples inhabiting the country, knowledge of culture, education, traditions, achievements in sports, in technical progress, that is, knowledge of the countries, our neighbors.

I have lived for over 40 years in the small town of Khasan. This is a legendary place with its own history and traditions. In 1952, a railway station was built for cooperation and trade with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Railroad workers worked for many years both on the Soviet side and on the Korean side. It was an exchange of goods for the people: clothing, vegetables, fruits, fertilizers, timber, coal.

But in addition to trade relations, cultural ties also developed: meetings, cultural evenings, excursions to natural and historical monuments. And we remember the first meetings of Kim Il Sung on our land. It was on Russian territory that we met the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It was an unforgettable meeting. There was a thorough preparation and meeting with the pioneers.

In the 80s, the Soviet-Korean Friendship Society was created with the purpose to study history, to organize events, cultural evenings, evenings of Russian song, visiting cinemas, excursions to enterprises, holding ecological service projects, acquaintance with the flora and fauna of our countries. Because on the territory of Khasan and neighboring Tumangan, railway workers worked, they co-exchanged: the Korean side worked for us, and the Soviet side worked in Tumangan. Of course, everybody had some free time. And a lot depends on how a person spends it for relations between nations.

The stories about Korean culture and Russian culture, art, literature and music took place after the establishment of the Soviet-Korean Friendship Society. Good traditions were established. At these meetings, we exchanged various information about our traditions. Our meetings were held in the House of Friendship, which was built specially for the meeting with Kim Il Sung. In addition, trips to the cinema and enterprises were organized.

In this photo, we can be sure of this. In addition, trips to the beautiful coast of the Sea of ​​Japan were also organized. Collecting wild plants, seafood, joint recreation, exchange of dishes, recipes, and at the same time a lot of guests came from Pyongyang. They all, of course, visited the House of Friendship, left friendly notes in the Book of Honorary Visitors. Usually, we rested at the time of drinking tea, Russian tea, Russian traditions and songs. Without this, of course, it is difficult to develop relationship.

On the Korean side, railway workers could visit directly cultural and natural monuments, monuments dedicated to the Victory in WWII.

This photo is on the Soviet side, in the village, in the regional center of the village "Slavyanka". Such trips took place.

In addition, the railway workers of Hasan station could visit the famous Kumgangsan mountains. After the construction of the House of Friendship, after visiting it, the improvement of the territory began.

And here we are already together, a joint society, representatives of the Soviet-Korean Friendship Society have planted an alley of pine trees. In the photo a little later, you can see that those pines have already grown, because this alley is already more than 30 years old.

In 1990, at the invitation of the head of the Korean Workers’ Party, Kim Jong Il, we visited the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang. It was, of course, a great honor for us. At the general meeting, the decision on who would be part of the delegation was made and the leader of the group was elected. I became the leader of this delegation. We were guests of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for 11 days. We stayed at the Koryo Hotel, and all the days were, of course, scheduled. On the first day, a meeting was organized by a delegation in Pyongyang with representatives of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party. We visited the official hometown of Kim Il Sung, Mangyongdae.

Of course, how could we not visit the National Theater and the famous revolutionary production "Flower Girl"! There was a meeting with students of Pyongyang University, a visit to a maternity hospital, and a kindergarten, where we saw little Korean pupils, who greeted us with unforgettable songs, their smiles, and a kind teacher. We visited a circus with changing arenas, a unique factory of famous Korean embroidery, and, of course, those famous embroideries are still kept in our families.

On the territory of Pyongyang, of course, we definitely visited monuments and various sculptures. Naturally, we also visited the monument to the Juche idea. Everywhere we went, there was a kind, warm welcome, and at that time it was very unusual for the Korean population to see such a delegation - we were all women, friendly and kind.

In the 90s, meetings were less frequent, for obvious reasons, but in the 2000s our life again intensified. Why? Because Korean residents, builders, railroad workers, and consular representatives could already move freely. They were allowed to live with their families, with children, and children could attend general education Russian schools. Sometimes children of a school age couldn’t speak Russian. But Russian children were very friendly and were even the best teachers for children from North Korea, because in such interpersonal communication, the two languages ​​are learned very quickly.

There were various events in which the citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, who lived in the territory of the Hasan village, took part ... They certainly took an active part in various rallies, events, concerts, because they sing very well.

The international project "Football without Borders" has become simply unforgettable. The meeting of the two teams - from North Korea and Russia - showed that friendship always wins.

Besides, of course, there were plans. In 2018, the environmental project "Trail at the junction of three borders" also attracted the attention of schoolchildren from different countries. Schoolchildren presented this project at an international symposium.

Well, here we can see that schoolchildren not only attend the lessons of a general education school, but also extracurricular activities, that is, they can study according to their interests. They study at school, as we say, at the junction of three states. On this slide, you can also see - here is a student, our school student ...

And 2019, April, again became unforgettable both for the people of Khasan and for the entire Russian people, because in April 2019, the schoolgirls of the Khasan school were again honored to meet this time the grandson of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-un. The meeting took place in a very good, friendly and positive atmosphere. Kim Jong Un really liked the schoolgirls, he thanked them for the meeting, and the schoolgirls were also pleased. When some of them gave interviews to journalists, they said: "He is quite kind, he smiled so well!"

And on this slide you can see, after being met in the conference room, the first meeting took place on Russian soil. We see Kim Jong-un sitting in the same chair as his father, Kim Jong-il. These chairs have been preserved to this day. And we hope that friendship will help our countries.

In 2020, already in the new House of Friendship, which was rebuilt after 2015, a third, new commemorative plaque about the visit to Russia by the head of state of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea appeared on the walls of this house. And now on the walls of this house there are already three commemorative plaques: about the visit of Kim Il Sung, the two visits of Kim Jong Il and the visit of Kim Jong-un.

The visit was friendly, as I said, it took place in a positive atmosphere, and I think that now, of course, this very difficult situation, the pandemic - fetters all of us, but, on the other hand, it has expanded our capabilities. We can now communicate more online, solve some problems, but one thing we only need to know is that culture, education and sports - they will help preserve peace on our entire planet, and we must help this. Thank you for your attention!

Q&A Session:

In answer to the question, "From your point of view, have the relations between people from the DPRK and from Russia changed after the USSR collapsed and Russia ceased to be a communist country? Have the level of trust and cultural ties been preserved?", Mrs. Natalya Karpova ahswered as follows.

Of course, you know, 1991 - it probably broke the plans of many peoples, including the citizens of the Soviet Union and North Korea, because an incomprehensible situation occurred.

From previously being constantly trading countries, some relations were broken. But time passed, and you know, I already said in the first part: people realized that the borders were opened wider. The fact is that somewhere in the 90s, a recreation camp for children and tourists already opened its doors in the DPRK. After all, this has not happened before! And it happened in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. And many were able to visit there as tourists.

The Pyongyang-Moscow train was opened on the railway and launched. You know that ordinary citizens, that is, the same residents of the village of Khasan, could have traveled on this train. They could easily get on the train (and there were four trains a week), and they could sometimes ride together in the Soviet train and in the Korean train - and the Soviet train very often had representatives from Pyongyang and from the consulate. They rode this train.

I myself have used this train several times. You could communicate, you could read the magazines that the guides always had about the achievements of North Korea, and literally, even before the pandemic, these trains were running, I went to the city of Khabarovsk, and it was possible also to read directly about current achievements. Another point is the fact that now schoolchildren and students from North Korea can move and study not only on the territory of Russia ...

Our school is an example of this: when the first schoolchildren appeared who did not know the Russian language at all, and then literally in a short time they learned, and how quickly their adaptation took place in our society. And you know, there was no bullying, there was no persecution, there was no mistrust. That is, you know, we did not feel it here, but on the contrary, we did everything to ensure that our education was at the highest level. You know, both China and North Korea are visible from the windows of our houses. And directly from our school we look at China from some windows, and from other windows we look at Korea – they are so close!

Therefore, I think that nothing of the kind happened, because now we see and communicate directly with those people who live and work directly on our territory. They know Russian very well. I think that now this relationship has even become stronger.

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