South Korean entertainers performed in Pyongyang for the first time in 13 years, presenting a wide variety of K-pop music to the reclusive regime.
“I sincerely hope that the South-North summit will go well and a peaceful co-existence regime will take root on the Korean Peninsula,” Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-whan told the Joint Press Corps ahead of the concert. Do is the head of a 190-member troupe to the North, including singers, taekwondo practitioners, technical staff and government officials. The troupe arrived in Pyongyang in two teams, an advance team Thursday, and the rest Saturday.
The minister expressed further hopes for resumption of suspended inter-Korean projects, such as the publication of a unified Korean dictionary, and the excavation of historic relics in Kaesong, as the PyeongChang Winter Games provided an opportunity to thaw frosty South-North relations.
“I hope national homogeneity will be recovered through cultural, sports, art, religious and social group exchanges,” Do said.
South Korean taekwondo athletes and officials from South and North Koreas pose at the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in Pyongyang, Sunday. / Courtesy of World Taekwondo Headquarters
The concert is titled “Spring Comes,” signaling a change in relations between the two countries ahead of an inter-Korean summit April 27, and North Korea-United States summit planned for May.
The South Koreans performed at the 1,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theatre. The show was originally scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pyongyang time), but postponed to 7 p.m. upon the North’s request for the convenience of the audience members.
Cho Yong-pil, who returned to the North 13 years after a solo concert there in 2005, sang his hit songs “Cafe of the Winter,” “Dream” and “Short Hair.”
Baek Ji-young sang her hit ballad “Like Being Shot by a Bullet,” while Choi Jin-hee performed “The Maze of Love.”
Girl band Red Velvet, the youngest members of the troupe, presented “Red Flavor” and “Bad Boy.” Joy of the five-member girl group missed the historic North Korean visit due to the filming of the television drama “The Great Seducer.”
Lee Sun-hee, Jungin, Ali, Kang San-eh and Kim Kwang-min also took part in the concert. Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, who emceed the concert, sang “Blue Willow,” a North Korean song by Kim Kwang-sook. She also appeared with the North Korean Samjiyon Orchestra during its performance at the Seoul Arts Center in February and sang “Let’s Meet Again” and “Our Wish” with them.
After the Sunday show, the South Koreans will hold a joint concert with North Korean performers at the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium, April 3.—Agencies