Vietnam Time

2/28/2019 7:47:06 PM

Hai Duong’s Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association looks forward to peace on Korean Peninsula

Pham Van Hoan, Chairman of the Hai Duong’s Vietnam- DPRK Friendship Association, who used to be studied in North Korea, deeply impressed with the carefree and thoughtful support of people here.

Pham Van Hoan, Chairman of the Hai Duong’s Vietnam- DPRK Friendship Association.

A friendly North Korea

“After graduating from high school in Vietnam, I and many others were sent to study in North Korea. At that time our country was still in a fierce war. We were gathered at Hanoi University of Technology to prepare for our journey by the then Ministry of University,” Hoan recalled.

During the 6 years of studying and living in North Korea, friendship of people here left the deepest impression in the mind of Vietnamese students. Along with that is the direct concern from your country's officials and teachers. All students remember the carefree and thoughtful assistance in all aspects of North Korean friends.

“For me, North Korea and Vietnam shares many cultural similarities. We are all Asian so there is interference, more or less, from customs, values to family rituals," Hoan said.

“However, North Korean culture has quite different characteristics. When we were still students, what we noticed the most was a disciplined, disciplined North Korean country. People strictly follow regulations. The relationship between students and teachers is a hierarchical and formal relationship. Also, they have a seriously working and studying attitude. The image we caught most on the streets was student groups gathered every morning, lined up to go to school, and sang revolutionary songs.

During the time in North Korea, Vietnamese students were facilitated to visit some places and revolutionary relics. This is one of the traditional educational activities that North Korea pays special attention to. We visited northern mountainous revolution bases from the Korean resistance against the Japanese colonial and fouding leader Kim Il Sung’s homeland. In particular, we visited the Chollima monument - a symbol of self-reliance, patriotic emulation and pride of North Korean people.”

The Chollima monument in central Pyongyang. Photo: Hai Duong’s Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association.

Friendship bridge

The Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association in Hai Duong province was established in 2003. This is the first and only Vietnam-DPRK friendship organisation at the provincial level throughout the country. The association currently has 82 members, mainly local people who have studied and lived in North Korea. One special thing is that a third of the members come from surrounding provinces.

Since its establishment until now, the association has always taken people-to-people's friendship work as the guiding principle. The association regularly contacts the DPRK’s Embassy in Vietnam and receives many useful information. Also through that, the association shares information about Vietnamese culture and people in general and Hai Duong in particular.

Every year, the association organises cultural exchanges to celebrate the National Liberation Day of Korea. The most recent friendly meeting was in 2018, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK and 50 year of Vietnamese students studying in North Korea. The atmosphere is filled with sentiment and solidarity. The event saw many excellent performances by North Korean actors and artists living in Vietnam. Through that, the image of North Korea and its peole is closer to Vietnamese.

Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Exchange in Hai Duong. Photo: Hai Duong’s Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association.

In the early 2000s, North Koreans faced many difficulties due to natural disasters and floods. Hai Duong’s Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association mobilised its members and other friendship associations to help North Korea people overcome consequences and return to their normal life. The donation's material value was not much but showed the affection of Hai Duong’s people towards North Korean.

In addition, when North Korea organises major events or has many positive changes in international relations, the friendship association always sends congratulations. "For the summit between Chairman Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump in Singapore in the summer of 2018, we sent a letter to express our joy when the US-DPRK relations have a historic progress," said Hoan.

A great future awaits

“In 2018, I and some members have the opportunity to return to North Korea. After more than 50 years, the country witnessed development on all fronts at a fast pace. A rare pace, I think. Many people in our group were really surprised. Lots of large and long roads, and buildings. The country’s discipline is maintained and people live peacefully. Although the industry and agriculture are still limited, basically, North Korea has developed a lot,” Hoan said.

North Korea is gradually developing. Photo: Hai Duong’s Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association.

According to Hoan, in the future, with the opening momentum of North Korea, the friendly relations between the two countries in general and the activities of Hai Duong’s Vietnam - DPRK Friendship Association in particular will have many advantages. North Korea can refer to Vietnam's experiences in innovation and development. On the contrary, Vietnam can also refer to the key points from development of North Korea.

“On the side of Hai Duong province, the provincial leaders have repeatedly expressed their intention to visit and establish twinning ties with some North Korean provinces. As the Chairman of the Hai Duong’s Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Association, I look forward to this soon becoming a reality at an appropriate time. The second US-DPRK summit is hosted in Hanoi, I personally really want the relations between the US and North Korea to have specific breakthroughs, creating a foundation towards peace and stability for the Korean Peninsula," Hoan shared. 

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