Pop Diplomacy: South Korean Bands Trying to 'Broker' Peace With North Korea

Pop Diplomacy: South Korean Bands Trying to 'Broker' Peace With North Korea

During the games, a North Korean art troupe performed in South Korea, and Moon and his wife watched it with visiting senior North Korean officials including Kim Yo Jong, who became the first member of the North's ruling Kim family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Top South Korean musical acts including a K-pop girlband are set to hold a rare concert in North Korea Sunday evening in the latest reconciliatory gesture before a rare inter-Korean summit.

"The whole goal of cultural exchange is to open the gates for better relations between the North and the South, which have been strained for a decade", said Professor Kang Dong Wan at Dong-a University and a leader of the Busan Hana Centre, an institute that helps North Korean defectors in the South Korean port city of Busan.

The South's taekwondo athletes also staged a performance before an audience of 2,300 in Pyongyang yesterday ahead of a joint display of the Korean martial art with the North's practitioners on Monday. Their trip comes before Kim is to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a border village on April 27 and with President Donald Trump in May in separate summits.

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In February, North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra performed in the South to celebrate the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The third inter-Korean summit - there were also meetings in 2000 and 2007 - is due to be held on 27 April.

Legendary South Korean singer Cho Yong-pil, who held a solo sell-out concert in Pyongyang in 2005, was another star of the show. No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit.

The group shot to stardom in 2009, making Seohyun one of today's most recognisable K-pop singers. One of the band members, Eric Mun, told reporters that they looked at the singers "with eyes like shooting lasers", according to Yonhap News.

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It was unclear whether Kim Jong Un would make an appearance at the concerts.

The audiences for the concerts will consist mostly of elite, loyal cadres unlikely to undergo a sudden ideological conversion under the influence of a few K-pop stars. The girl group is to sing two of its recent hits: "Red Flavor" and "Bad Boy".

Do Jong-whan, minister of culture, sports and tourism, attends a congratulatory event at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul before departing for Pyongyang for a four-day visit, leading a 190-member South Korean delegation, mainly Korean pop musicians, on March 31, 2018.

Kim's late father and longtime ruler, Kim Jong Il, was known to be a fan of the 68-year-old singer.

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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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