China, DPRK embrace new opportunities for tourism, culture, education exchanges

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CHANGCHUN, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will embrace new opportunities for tourism, culture and education exchanges as China-DPRK ties have now entered a new historical period, said officials and professionals in northeast China's Jilin Province.

Besides the tourism industry, in the eyes of people in Jilin, which is at the forefront of linkages between the two countries, there will be more cooperation between China and the DPRK in education, culture and other fields in the future.

The Senlinshan International Travel Service in Hunchun, a city on China's border with the DPRK and Russia in Jilin, has seen a growing number of Chinese tourists to visit DPRK this year, and it sends up to 10 tours to the DPRK every day, each with 80 to 40 tourists, said Yang Jingang, general manager of the travel agency.

"China and the DPRK enjoy close geographical proximity and profound friendship. I believe that we will go further in cultural exchanges," said Zhao Jide, director of the Institute of Ethnic Musical Instruments in Yanji, capital of Yanbian, the largest Korean autonomous prefecture in China.

Tourists view the sunrise in Hunchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Jan. 1, 2017. (Xinhua/Lin Hong)

Hunchun will continue to actively boost the tourism industry and other service industries, develop China-DPRK cross-river tourist routes and establish a national tourism demonstration zone in 2019, said Zhang Jifeng, mayor of the city. The border city will strive to achieve a growth of more than 15 percent this year in both tourist reception and tourism revenue.

The institute has been established for 20 years and is responsible for the research and development, production and improvement of more than 40 kinds of Korean musical instruments including long drum, gayageum and vertical bamboo flute.

Zhang Leisheng, an associate professor of the Institute of Higher Education in Jilin University, said that in the future, China and the DPRK can further promote the exchange visits of teachers and students from the two countries, expand the scale of government-funded scholarship and invite outstanding young Korean students to study in China to deepen bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, the border crossings between China and the DPRK have been open even on weekends since three years ago as the tourism ties between the two countries are building up.