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North Korea Concert News: Kim Jong Un Has Blast At ‘Spring is Coming,’ Took Photo With South Korean Artists And More

by Jessica Rapir / Apr 03, 2018 05:54 AM EDT
North Korea concert highlights include Kim Jong Un's unscheduled appearance and his chat with Red Velvet and other South Korean artists. Photo by: KCNA

A concert of South Korean singers in Pyongyang is already a historical event on its own. The attendance of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un makes it an even rarer occurrence. The reclusive leader of the North enjoyed the entertainment provided by South Korean artists who visited his country. He was seen clapping and waving during the Spring is Coming concert.

The North Korea concert of South Korean artists made headlines around the world not only because it rarely happens, but also due to the attendance of Kim Jong-un. Wearing a dark Mao-style suit, the leader of North Korea made an unscheduled appearance at the concert with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, and sister, Kim Yo-jung.

The family watched the performances of South Korean artists from the second-floor VIP stand. The North Korea state news agency, KCNA, said Kim Jong-un was impressed with all the South Korean acts.

"He said that he was deeply moved to see our people sincerely acclaiming the performance, deepening the understanding of the popular art of the South's side," KCNA said.

The statement came as a surprise to many since it has been known that it is a punishable crime for North Koreans to consume South Korean pop culture. This includes music, soap operas, and movies. Moreover, it can be recalled that two years ago, the South used giant speakers that were loudly playing K-pop music at the militarized border to protest the North's nuclear test.

Kim Jong Un Had A Chat With South Korean Artists

In another very rare occasion, Kim Jong-un met with the performers after the concert on Sunday. He shook hands with K-pop girl group Red Velvet, former Girls' Generation member Seohyun, and others. Red Velvet member Yeri admitted that she was "very" nervous when she exchanged handshakes with Kim Jong-un, but said it was "an honor" to shake hands with the North's leader.

Kim also took a photo with the group. The snap shows Red Velvet members standing by the side of Kim. The North Korean leader also told the performers that they should hold culture and art performances more frequently. He also asked them to convey to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the two Koreas should hold a similar event in Seoul in autumn.

North Korean Audience Reaction

The 1,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theatre was packed with North Korean concertgoers who joyfully sang along with the performers. The audience also waved their hands from their seats when the South Korean singers joined together on stage to sing a popular Korean song, "Our Wish is Unification." Red Velvet member Seulgi admitted that she cried when they performed the song with her fellow South Korean artists.

After the two-hour performance, the North Koreans gave a standing ovation. Red Velvet has admitted that they are surprised by the warm reception, but they gladly appreciated it.

The South Korean art troupe performed a total of 26 songs. Red Velvet sang "Red Flavor" and "Bad Boy." Seohyun, on the other hand, performed "Greenish Willow Tree" and also expressed hope about the continuing blooming of inter-Korean relationship.

The event is the latest showing of peace and cooperation between the two Koreas who have been in a tense relationship for the past decades. Kim is to meet Moon at a border village later this month. Kim Jong-un is also slated to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in May in separate talks. 

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