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SoKor pop stars to perform in rare N. Korea concert

South Korean girl band Red Velvet is seen after their performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Korea Pool via AP)
South Korean girl band Red Velvet is seen after their performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Korea Pool via AP)
South Korean girl band Red Velvet is seen after their performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Korea Pool via AP)
South Korean girl band Red Velvet is seen after their performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Korea Pool via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) – Top South Korean musical acts, including a K-pop girl band, are set to hold a rare concert in North Korea last night in the latest reconciliatory gesture before a rare inter-Korean summit.

Last night’s event – which will be the first concert by South Korean artists in the North for more than a decade – comes as a diplomatic thaw quickens on the peninsula after months of military tensions.

The 120-member group – 11 musical acts as well as dancers and technicians – flew to Pyongyang last Saturday to perform concerts yesterday as well as tomorrow.

South Korean singers held a rehearsal yesterday afternoon at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre where the concert is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. last night, according to South Korean pool photos.

The rapprochement was triggered by the South’s Winter Olympics, to which the North’s leader Kim Jong Un sent athletes, cheerleaders, and his powerful sister as an envoy.

Kim followed up by agreeing to summits with US President Donald Trump and the South’s President Moon Jae-in. The young leader also met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week during his first overseas trip.

The inter-Korean summit, the third after meetings in 2000 and 2007, will be held on April 27. No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit although it is expected before the end of May.

The most closely-watched group set to perform Sunday is Red Velvet, part of the South’s hugely popular K-pop phenomenon that has taken audiences in Asia and beyond by storm in recent decades.

The five-member girl band is known for a mix of upbeat electronic music, stylish fashion, and high-voltage choreography.

Joy, one of the five members, would miss the trip to Pyongyang due to her TV drama shooting schedule, their agency has said.

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

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

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Written by Tempo Online

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