Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Two Koreas' Art Troupes to Perform Together in Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un Watches South Korean K-Pop Performance In Pyongyang Kim Jong-un's pop concert turn shows further thawing of tensions
Charlie Simmons | 05 April, 2018, 01:40

According to a pool report, Kim Yong-chol, a high-ranking Workers' Party official who oversees inter-Korean affairs, visited Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang to ask South Korean reporters for their understanding as regime leader Kim Jong Un had attended the concert on Sunday.

Kim called the show a "present" to North Korea's citizens. When South Korea used to air drop in media like DVDs, North Korea would respond extremely harshly.

Baek Ji Young performed "Like Being Hit By a Bullet" and "Don't Forget" at the concert. Short South Korean media pool footage showed Kim clapping from the second-floor VIP stand as South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan bowed and greeted North Korean spectators looking on from the first floor.

YB performed a remake of the hit song by Shim Soo Bong. Cho staged a solo concert in Pyongyang in 2005 - the last concert by a South Korean artist in the North before Sunday's performance.

The same South Korean singers will hold a joint concert with North Korean performers on Tuesday at the Ryukyung Chung Ju Yung Gymnasium, a joint project between the North and South named after Hyundai Group billionaire founder Chung Ju-yung, who had long advocated inter-Korean cultural and economic exchanges.

In early 2016, following a North Korean nuclear test, the South blasted its northern neighbor with giant speakers playing propaganda and music across the heavily militarized border.

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The audience applauded when singers from both sides sang the North Korean song "Paektu and Halla are My Nation", which praises the ruling Kim dynasty.

But tension has eased significantly since North Korea made a decision to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

"The applause was much louder than we thought", Red Velvet singer Kim Ye-rim, whose stage name is Yeri, told South Korean reporters, while bandmate Wendy, real name Son Seung-wan, admitted that that had "expected the worst" response to the show.

Reporters were allowed access to the two-hour rehearsal session which ended at 5:50 p.m. "Later Chairman Kim came down and shook my hand, then said, 'Thank you for singing that song.' I realized why the organizers asked me to sing 'Belated Regret'".

The North sent not only athletes and cheerleaders but also an art troupe and a taekwondo demonstration team in celebration of the Olympics. She had performed with the North's Samjiyon Orchestra in Seoul in February. According to Kim himself, he changed his schedule just to be able to attend the said event. The meeting will precede a meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, who announced that he would meet Kim in person some time before May. "I am grateful for a gift like this (concert) to the people of Pyongyang", as reported by South China Morning Post.

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