South Korea clears way for student exchanges with North Korea

Seoul National University students to contact counterparts at Kim Il Sung University - by fax

June 15, 2018
Korean border

The South Korean government has approved plans for the nation’s most prestigious institution to open talks on student exchanges with North Korea’s Kim Il Sung University, according to reports.

South Korea’s Ministry of Unification gave the green light for students at Seoul National University to contact North Korean counterparts, according to students at the institution, the Yonhap news agency said.

“The approval, coming amid increasingly warming ties between the two Koreas, could pave the way for the school’s first student exchanges with a North Korean university since its foundation in 1946,” it added.

The SNU students have started a “promotion committee for inter-Korean exchanges” with the university’s council and filed a request with the ministry in May.

“After the ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, approved its plan, the SNU committee said it will send a fax message to the Pyongyang-based Kim Il Sung University as early as next week to begin discussions on student exchanges,” Yonhap reported.

Exchange programmes could include “joint exploration of historical sites in Pyongyang by students from both universities”, the students are expected to suggest. About 100 SNU students are reported to want to take part in exchanges with the North.

The move comes after a warming of relations between the two countries and the historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump.

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

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