Tensions Thaw Between Koreas As Kim Jong-un Attends A Kpop Concert

In an unprecedented and peculiar moment of history strict North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a South Korean pop concert.

The spectacular was attended not only by Kim Jong-un, but other leading officials as well. Others included Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong, the official North Korean Ceremonial President Kim Yong Nam, alongside many more. At the side of the Supreme Leader sat his wife, Ri Sol Ju, who was a performer in the past. Ri Sol Ju was previously a singer in North Korea’s Unhasu Orchestra before her marriage to Jong-un. According to the South Korean Unification Ministry, videos of her performances may be found online.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting South Korean stars in Pyongyang. Image released by KNCA/Reuters.

So who performed at the 2 hour concert? Well while the full lineup is extensive (Roughly 120 person delegation), some highlights do shine above the rest. Star acts included a variety of well known Korean artists, such as famous singer Seohyun. However the most notable of them all was the popular Kpop girl group Red Velvet.

The five-membered Kpop group holds many awards, including Seoul Music Award for Best New Artist (2015) and the Mnet Asian Music Award for Best Female Group (2017). The renowned musicians have taken part in the creation of 9 different albums and EPs, and is signed with S.M. Entertainment.

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Kpop group Red Velvet preparing to leave for Pyongyang at the Gimpo International airport in Seoul, SK. Photo courtesy of AFP.

Red Velvet member Kim Ye-rim, who goes by the alias Yeri, spoke with South Korean reporters following the groups arrival home. “The applause was much louder than we thought.” Fellow idol Wendy, whose real name is Son Seung-wan, said that she had actually “expected the worst.” The group mentioned that they were backstage watching South Korean rock band YB play, and when the audience sang along, it unwinded their anxiety.

Red Velvet singer Kang Seul-gi, who goes by the stage name Selgui also commented on the concert. In an interview after the show she said “Everyone had a smile on their face. So that gave us strength.” She continued, stating “We hope we can have more exchange through this event so more of our songs can be known”

The girl group concluded their press statement by saying they would happily return to Pyongyang if they were invited by its regime once again

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South Korean Kpop girl group Red Velvet posing after their performance. Image courtesy of Korea Pool/AP Images.

“This performance in Pyongyang will add momentum to inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation that resumed with the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” mentioned the South Korean Minister of Culture Do Jong-hwan, who led the delegation. North Korea’s Central News Agency (KNCA) gave a positive report overall of the event, mentioning that Kim Jong-un was ‘deeply moved’ by the performance. The Supreme Leader alongside his wife shook hands with the stars, including Red Velvet.

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South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan cheering alongside Kim Jong-un post concert. Moment captured by EPA.

This monumental occasion has further thawed diplomatic relations inside of the Korean Peninsula, as this is the first time in over a decade that Southern musicians have performed in the North. Another summit similar to this is scheduled to take place late April, on the 27th.

 

Works Cited: NPR.com, CNN.com, Reuters.com

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