07:28 GMT +324 July 2019
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    Members of K-pop girlband Red Velvet pose for a photo before departing for Pyongyang from Gimpo International Airport in Seoul

    'Deeply Moved': N Korea's Kim Watches S Korean Pop Stars in Rare Concert

    © AFP 2019 / Jung Yeon-je
    Asia & Pacific
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    Some of South Korea’s biggest pop stars have performed in North Korea in the latest sign of thawing tensions between the two countries.

    On Sunday, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un attended the performance in Pyongyang with his wife Ri Sol-ju, sister Kim Yo-jong and other senior officials, including nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam.

    After the concert, which lasted for more than two hours, Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju shook hands with the South Korean pop stars and took pictures with them backstage, CNN reported.

    The South Korean girl group Red Velvet and singers Cho Yong-pil and Lee Sun-hee were among those who took to the stage in Sunday’s concert at the 2,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theater.

    Kim Jong-un "was deeply moved to see our people sincerely acclaiming the performance, deepening the understanding of the popular art of the southern side," North Korea’s state news agency KCNA wrote.

    Another concert, a joint North-South performance, is scheduled for Tuesday.

    The concerts and sports demonstration come after a period of diplomatic thaw between the two nations.

    Even though South Korean pop singers have previously performed in North Korea in the past, Sunday’s concert was the first one ever attended by a North Korean chief.

    READ MORE: Seoul Sending Top K-Pop Bands to Try Hand at Melting the Inter-Korean Ice

    The shows come after Pyongyang sent performers to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea earlier this year.

    They also precede a historic summit between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

    On Monday, North Korea apologized to South Korean journalists for restricting their access to Sunday’s concert in Pyongyang.

    Yonhap news agency reported on Monday that South Korean reporters were not allowed inside the concert hall except for just one cameraman.

    A senior North Korean official visited the South Korean reporters at their hotel in Pyongyang and said that "it was a mistake to restrict the coverage and prevent free footage."


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    diplomatic thaw, South Korean pop stars, concert, summit, Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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