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Northeast Asia Peace Initiative

Promoting the Northeast Asia Peace Initiative in Russia

Moscow, Russia - UPF-Russia works toward a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula in consultations with Russian and foreign experts and through electronic media and face-to-face communications.

Konstantin Zharinov, coordinator of UPF-Russia’s Northeast Asia Peace Initiative, works as a volunteer with the initiative in addition to holding a full-time job. Since he developed the Russian-language www.onekorea.ru website, he has become well-known in the circles of Korean experts in Moscow. His site is respected by both the North and South, which is very rare. In Russia, one has easier access to North Koreans than elsewhere, and he is using these opportunities to build personal relations. He has met with embassy officials from both the South and North, and he participates in every Korea-related event in Moscow as a representative of UPF. It is important to note that he does not take sides and accuses neither the North nor the South. To maintain such a balance is very complicated.

The following is an account of 2012 events that he participated in or helped to organize:

Caring for veterans of the Korean War

Mr. Zharinov partnered with a Moscow school to create a museum dedicated to the Korean War, and the items in the exhibits come both from the North and the South.

On the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, the Museum of Air Defense Troops in the city of Balashikha, Moscow region, held a commemoration on June 23 with the participation of the Moscow City Council of Korean War Veterans. Ambassadors for Peace and Mr. Zharinov were key participants.

Opening doors through electronic communications

The onekorea.ru website has been updated, and the number of daily visitors continues to grow. The site is maintained by Mr. Zharinov. The number of experts who offer their comments on the site has grown considerably. Two Russian experts began contributing their analyses on a regular basis.

A Moscow - Beijing video bridge on the theme of "New U.S. Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region" took place in the RIA Novosti press center on January 16; Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky was an organizer of the event on the Beijing side. A second video bridge on the theme of the "Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula: New Leader of North Korea - New Opportunities?" took place on February 23.

A presentation about the Russian pavilion at EXPO-2012 in Yeosu, South Korea, took place in the Cultural Center of the Republic of Korea Embassy on March 23. Reporters from onekorea.ru visited EXPO-2012 on May 11; they were the only Russian journalists who attended the opening ceremony and were warmly welcomed by employees of the press center in the Russian pavilion. The journalists had the opportunity to survey the exhibition together with the General Commissioner of the Russian Pavilion, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Georgy Kalamanov.

During the 2morrow/Tomorrow international independent film festival, a reporter from onekorea.ru participated in the October 6 press conference of the world-famous South Korean film director Kim Ki Duk.

The news agency RIA Novosti hosted a press conference on the "Asian Vector of Russia's Development and Bilateral Cooperation with South Korea" on October 23. Experts in the gas industry shared about prospects of constructing a trans-Korean gas pipeline and the significant potential for cooperation between Russia and South Korea in the field of energy.

Reporters from onekorea.ru participated in the North Korea exhibition of contemporary art “North Korea in the Rays of the Spring Sun” that was opened by the DPRK Ambassador to Moscow, Kim Yong Dje, and a deputy of the State Duma from "Russia the Just," Alexander Chetverikov, on November 23.

Reporters from onekorea.ru were guests at a December 18 party for Russian bloggers who entered a competition initiated by South Korea's tourism industry on the theme "The So Different Korea"; onekorea.ru was entered in the competition. This was the first contest in Russia for the best web sites or social networking pages about the Republic of Korea. The results of the competition will be published in March 2013.

People-to-people diplomacy

The 16th academic conference of scholars from the U.S., Russia, and CIS countries on the topic of the "Korean Peninsula: On the Eve of Changes" took place at the Far East Institute of RAS on March 29 and 30. Mr. Zharinov represented UPF at the event.

The all-Russia academic conference of young researchers into Korean issues took place on March 31 at the Institute of Asian and African Countries of Moscow State University. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of South Korea Wee Son-Nak welcomed the audience.

A "Lesson for Peace" was offered to the 11th-grade students at the Cheongshim High School in Gapyeong, South Korea, on May 9. The focus was the history of Russian-Korean relations, differences between the cultures, and various world views.

An international conference on "One Korea - The Dream of the Entire Korean Nation" took place at the Rushotel in Moscow on October 3. The conference marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Advancement of South-North Korean relations, Peace and Prosperity on October 4, 2007. The organizer of the forum was the Association of the Koreans of the YPU with the support of the Embassy of North Korea. The conference was attended by the North Korean Ambassador in Moscow, Kim Yong Dje.

An informal dialogue with the Governor of Gyeonggi Province in South Korea, Kim Moon-soo, with Russian researchers of Korean history took place at the Ukraine Hotel in Moscow on October 25. Discussions focused on the relations between the two Koreas.

A Russian-Korean conference at the MGIMO-IFANS on "International and Political Aspects of the Issues of Settlement on the Korean Peninsula" took place at the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs (MGIMO University) on November 15. Among the Russian participants in the conference were professors of MGIMO University; on the Korea side were scholars from the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.

On the first anniversary of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, representatives of UPF-Russia offered condolences at the embassy of DPRK in Moscow, on December 17.

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