Published: Mon, April 02, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Korean art troupe arrives in N. Korea

Korean art troupe arrives in N. Korea

Such cultural exchanges "can build trust between the two Koreas that are part of the same race and share the same language", said Yang Moo-jin, a professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University in Seoul and an adviser to the presidential Blue House on the coming summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon.

The summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon - only the third to take place since the 1950-53 Korean War - could prove significant in the global diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff over the North's nuclear program.

Top South Korean musical acts including a K-pop girlband are set to hold a rare concert in North Korea Sunday evening in the latest reconciliatory gesture before a rare inter-Korean summit.

Kim also showed "great interest in the songs and lyrics (of South Korean singers) during the concert", Do Jong-hwan, Seoul's culture chief and the head of the delegation, told reporters.

A North Korean art troupe staged two performances in the South in February to celebrate the Games. The negotiations are expected to be followed by talks between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, set to occur by the end of May.

The ongoing rapprochement was triggered by the South's Winter Olympics, to which the North's leader Kim Jong-un sent athletes, cheerleaders and his sister as an envoy.

The South Koreans will perform on Sunday in a theater that holds about 1,500 people, and artists from North and South will perform together in a 10,000-capacity stadium on Tuesday. No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit. One of the band members, Eric Mun, told reporters that they looked at the singers "with eyes like shooting lasers", according to Yonhap News.

The five-member girlband - known for its signature K-pop mix of upbeat electronic music, stylish fashion and high-voltage choreography - performed two of their hits, Bad Boy and Red Flavour.

It comes as one of the band's members, Joy, copped criticism after she pulled out of the rare performance following a schedule clash.

'Unfortunately, she will not be able to attend the concert'.

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

Although almost 300,000 South Korean troops and 24,000 American troops will take part, the drill will be a month shorter than usual and will not involve nuclear submarines.

Other Seoul stars to join the concerts include Cho Yong-pil, a singer who held a solo sell-out concert in Pyongyang in 2005.

In an interview with Billboard in 2013, the 68-year-old singer was dubbed a "K-pop legend".

K-pop legend Cho said: "I will comfortably perform in the North as I do here". She made a surprise appearance alongside a North Korean classical music ensemble during their performance in Seoul last month.

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