Kim attends rare concert by South Korean pop stars

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Seohyun (R) of Girls' Generation performs with North Korean singers during a performance in Seoul by the North's Samjiyon art troupe on February 11, 2018.

The cultural offensive comes just after North and South Korean officials agreed that a summit between leaders of the two countries-the first since 2007-would take place on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom.

The groups are the first musical delegation to visit North Korea for more than a decade, as the countries prepare for a landmark summit.

The South Korean delegation will return Tuesday night.

The now 53-year-old travelled to the North for a joint concert in 2003, which marked the opening of the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium - one of the performance venues for the upcoming concert.

In another sign of reduced tensions, the USA and South Korea will only hold scaled-down military exercises this week, which will not involve strategic weapons such as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

They have won over buttoned-up investors at a banking conference with their jingles about teenage love, but the K-pop girl band Red Velvet is about to face what may be its toughest audience yet: North Korea. On Tuesday, the two Koreas plan to hold a joint performance.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-whan (center, back row) poses with South Korean taekwondo athletes in Pyongyang on Sunday.


"I told myself, 'let's do our best even if there's no response (from the audience).but they showed so much reaction", added a member called Wendy.

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

Legendary South Korean singer Cho Yong-pil, who held a solo sell-out concert in Pyongyang in 2005, was another star of the show.

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.

Eleven Korean acts in the lineup of the concerts are: Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee, Choi Jin-hee, Yoon Do-hyun, Baek Ji-young, Red Velvet, Jungin, Seohyun, Ali, Kang San-eh and Kim Kwang-min.

K-pop - characterized by its manufactured melodies and slick approach to marketing - has penetrated into North Korea over the past 10 years.

Top K-pop girl band 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.

The stiffened crowd refused to respond to the athletes who motioned them to clap their hands to "Fire" - an intense electro-dance score peppered with rapid-fire rap delivered in both Korean and English.

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