Confucius Institute Outreach to DPRK

North Korea’s relations with China haven’t gotten much press lately, outside of reports that the diplomatic staff at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing are being shuffled, along with more rumors of exclusive and wide-spread access to North Korean ports and minerals by Chinese companies.

So it’s nice to run across this story dating from summer 2009 which describes how, under the auspices of Beijing University’s Confucius Institute (e.g., the Institute for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language), ten North Korean teachers of Chinese spent a month at the university honing their knowledge.

North Korean teachers of Chinese with Colleagues at Beijing University

In some ways we might be best served by looking at Chinese influence in North Korea much in the same way that we are focusing attention on Chinese influence globally — it’s normal, in other words, for China to act as a cultural and economic force.  And, since Beijing University’s Wudaokou neighborhood has been almost swallowed up by South Korean shops and overseas students, the Sino-North Korean language alliance might serve a purpose if only in the sense of abating, however slightly, the spread of the South “Korean wave” in northwest Beijing.

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