Korean leader views S. Korean art performance in Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands in Beijing China in this

China-N. Korea chess moves

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un clapped his hands and said he was "deeply moved" as he, his wife and hundreds of other citizens watched a rare performance by South Korean pop stars visiting Pyongyang.

A second concert with the same South Korean line-up is scheduled to be held this afternoon at the Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium in Pyongyang, which will include joint performances with North Korean artists.

The historic concert April 1, titled "Spring is Coming", was the first of its kind in the North's capital since 2005.

The girl band Red Velvet, part of the South's K-pop phenomenon that has drawn wide attention in Asia and elsewhere, was considered the headliner of the tour. "I had initially planned to attend a performance the day after tomorrow but I came here today after adjusting my schedule", Kim was quoted as saying in a pool report.

After the performance Kim and his wife met with the performers and shook hands with every singer.

Despite the North's isolation and strict curbs on unauthorised foreign culture, backed up by prison terms, K-pop has become increasingly popular in the North, thanks to flash drives smuggled across the border with China.

The South Korean minister leading the art troupe expressed hope Sunday for also resuming various suspended inter-Korean projects, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Kim Jong-un will have his first face-to-face discussion with President Moon Jae-in on April 27, when the two leaders will meet for the third inter-Korean summit near the border on South Korea's side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

When K-Pop boy band Shinhwa performed in North Korea in 2003 as part of a similar cultural diplomacy venture, the audience - dressed in suits and traditional dresses - greeted them with silence and stony stares. Their show included kicking, breaking and elements of folk and modern dance.

These cultural shows are in reciprocity to those offered by North Korean musicians, dancers and singers of the neighbor nation during the Winter Olympics of PyeongChang 2018, held in February and described as the games of peace.

He performed "Cafe of the Winter", which was known to be one of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's favorite songs, and a medley of three of his hit songs - "Dream", "Short Hair" and "Let's Go Travel". However, no date has been set for the US-North Korean summit.


"We should hold culture and art performances frequently", Kim told the South Korean performers.

Even so, she added that related punishments fluctuate, based on policy objectives.

One of the kpop artists that performed were South Korea's legends such as Red Velvet.

The North Korean leader's face was slightly flushed in a group photograph with the performers distributed by North Korean state media.

"It was our first time performing in Pyongyang and it was meaningful", said Lee Eui Seong, the captain of the South Korean squad. Their performance was one of the closely watched acts. "Besides that, nothing will change at all".

"I had no idea I was able to keep the promise (to meet the North Korean artists again)", she said. "So that gave us strength", said Kang Seul-gi, another Red Velvet singer, who performs under the name Selgui.

When the government in Seoul chose to blast some of its top hits across the border with massive loudspeakers along with weather and news reports, North Korea condemned it as an act of war.

About 300,000 South Korean soldiers were participating in the four-week Foal Eagle training alongside more than 11,500 U.S. troops, a spokesman for the ministry said. The field drills usually involve live firing from artillery and air assets and marine landings.

No US aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines were expected to join the drills.

The North is planning to hold a major parliamentary meeting on April 11, in which the country's rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, usually makes critical decisions on spending, legal revisions and personnel reshuffles at state organs. However, less obtrusive command post exercises, with some 12,000 U.S. troops, will overlap the summit, Yonhap noted.

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