Foreign kids enjoy summer in DPRK
Updated: 2014-07-30 07:17
By Associated Press in Wonsan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (China Daily)
International camp reopens following major renovation
A summer camp in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? It's got one - and it's got everything from giant water slides and a private beach to video games and volleyball courts, along with a big bronze statue of late leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il surrounded by children.
After some on-the-spot guidance from DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and a major facelift, the Songdowon International Children's Camp reopened on Tuesday for this year's foreign campers - more than 300 young children and teenagers from Russia, China, Vietnam, Ireland and Tanzania.
Kim Sun-gun, 12, of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, center, watches other students bury Russian student Konstantin Kostya, 10, in sand at the Songdowon International Children's Camp in Wonsan, DPRK, on Tuesday. Wong Maye / AP
The campers spend the eight days cooking, swimming, boating and mingling with their DPRK counterparts. Although heavily subsidized by the government, the camp - plus a tour of Pyongyang - costs about $270 for each foreign child.
The camp, which has been operating for nearly 30 years, was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with friendly socialist and non-aligned countries. But officials say they are willing to accept youth from anywhere - even the United States.
The camp gives the participants an opportunity to see a country that remains a mystery to most outsiders, and the DPRK a chance to show off the best it can offer - sleeping in air-conditioned rooms with TVs and video games is a luxury most DPRK children can't normally experience.
Still, teenagers have their own priorities.
"At the end, there is a talent show," said 19-year-old Linus Jamal Faustin, who came with a group of 16 from Tanzania's Laureate International School in Dar es Salaam. "We are ready to show them all how to dance."
At the end there is a talent show. We are ready to show them all how to dance."
(China Daily 07/30/2014 page10)