Kim Jong Un watches South Korean pop stars perform in Pyongyang

Virginia Carson
April 2, 2018

Still, some South Korean performers were evidently deemed too risqué.

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

Only four of the five members of Red Velvet - Wendy, Irene, Selgi and Yeri - will attend the concerts as Joy said she will be absent due to scheduling conflicts with her TV show.

South Korean groups perform during a rehearsal in Pyongyang.

K-pop stars led a group of South Korean musicians arriving in Pyongyang yesterday to take part in the latest set of cross-border cultural performances ahead of next month's rare inter-Korean summit.

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Members of top K-pop girlband Red Velvet will also perform in Pyongyang, venturing onto stages more traditionally occupied by North Korea's own mega girl group the Moranbong band, who are famous for their fast-paced patriotic songs.

Seohyun of Girls' Generation, who made a surprise collaboration with North Korean artists when the North's art troupe performed in Seoul last month, was expected to host the Pyongyang concerts.

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 exchange.

"Spring is Coming" is the title of the performances by the troupe, which come ahead of an inter-Korean summit slated for April 27.

The April 27 meeting could prove to be significant in the global diplomatic push to resolve the standoff over the North's nuclear weapons programme. Riding on the momentum, North Korea is set to hold talks with the U.S. on denuclearization before the end of May.

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"(Kim Jong Un) showed much interest during the show and asked questions about the songs and lyrics", Culture Minister Do Jong-whan told reporters after the show. President Moon attended a concert by North Korean singers in Seoul to mark the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February.

This is not his first performance in North Korea.

The inter-Korean projects were suspended in 2015 at the height of tensions between the two Koreas over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Despite the North's isolation and strict curbs on unauthorised foreign culture, enforced with prison terms, K-pop and South Korean TV shows have become increasingly popular there thanks to flash drives smuggled across the border with China.

As for sports exchanges, Do said that the ministry will propose a creation of a joint team with the North at the Asian Games that will take place in Indonesia in August, according to the pool report.

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The South Korean delegation will return home Tuesday night.

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