Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Korea's Kim Jong Un, wife watch K-pop stars perform in Pyongyang

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Andy Castillo | 02 April, 2018, 01:08

They were greeted on arrival at Pyongyang airport by Do's counterpart Pak Chun-nam as well as Hyon Song-wol, founder of the North's popular all-female Moranbong band, the South's Yonhap agency reported.

North Koreans give a warm weclome as Red Velvet members arrive at the Pyongyang International Airport, Saturday.

South Korean pop singers performed in the North during a past era of detente, but it was the first time for a North Korean leader to attend such a South Korean performance.

South Korean reporters accompanying the musical troupe say veteran pop singer Cho Yong-pil, Seohyun of the idol group Girls' Generation and other artists performed on Sunday evening.

The South Korean delegation included artists, concert staff, taekwondo demonstrators, reporters and government officials.

'This performance in Pyongyang will add momentum to inter-Korean exchanges and co-operation that resumed with the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, said Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan, who led the group.

The agency cited the south's culture ministry as its source.

This is the first time since November 2007 that South Korean artists have performed in the North. Before Sunday's performance, South Korea last sent a pop singer to North Korea in 2005.

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While in Pyongyang Do plans to meet with North Korean figures in those fields to discuss ways to expand culture and sports exchanges.

They have won over buttoned-up investors at a banking conference with their jingles about teenage love, but the K-pop girl band Red Velvet is about to face what may be its toughest audience yet: North Korea. "We'll return after performing well".

The South's taekwondo athletes also staged a performance before an audience of 2,300 in Pyongyang on Sunday ahead of a joint display of the Korean martial art with the North's practitioners on Monday.

As they belt out their dance tunes "Red Flavour" and "Bad Boy" to about 1,500 members of the North Korean elite at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre on Sunday night, Red Velvet will be hoping for a less frosty reception than those that have gone before them.

Kim shook hands and took photos with the stars backstage, saying inter-Korean cultural events should be held more often and suggesting another event in the South Korean capital this autumn, pool reports said. The shows will be taped and edited by South Korea's public broadcaster MBC to be made into a joint TV program for both countries.

The 120-member group, including top girlband Red Velvet, flew from Seoul's Gimpo airport aboard a chartered civilian flight to Pyongyang via the rarely used direct air route between the two Koreas, as a rapprochement on the peninsula gathers pace. The schedule for the concert in Pyongyang, however, isn't very short.

South Korean groups perform during a rehearsal in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018.

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