North Korea's Kim 'Deeply Moved' By Pop Musicians From South

North Korea's Kim 'Deeply Moved' By Pop Musicians From South

"Spring literally has arrived and it also presents our wishes for spring to come over our relationship between the North and the South".

"Kim's recent worldwide activities are an attempt to fracture the unified front against his regime", said Stephen Nagy, a senior associate professor at global Christian University in Tokyo.

"He exchanged warm greetings with them and warmly welcomed their Pyongyang visit", North Korea's official news agency KCNA wrote in a summary of the event. "I thank you for this kind of gift to Pyongyang citizens", Kim said.

A 2015 survey of North Korean refugees by the US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors found that 77 percent of respondents said it had become more risky to listen to foreign radio under Kim.

In addition to the concert, a team of South Korean taekwondo demonstrators performed on Sunday at the Pyongyang Taekwondo Hall, drawing more than 2300 North Koreans, including Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee.

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The South Korean performers were the first musical delegation to visit the neighbouring nation in a decade's time.

Images captured by South Korean journalists showed Kim shaking hands with the performers and stopping to pose for a group picture.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju popped into a Pyongyang gig by visiting K-pop stars, and apparently enjoyed the performance.

Kim and his wife saw South Korean K-pop group Red Velvet, Girls' Generation member Seohyun, and many others play at a "Spring is Coming" concert that he gave rave reviews of.

A 2015 survey of North Korean refugees conducted by the US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors found that 77 percent of respondents said it had become more risky to listen to foreign radio under Kim.

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"The whole objective 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 Kang Dong-wan, a professor at Dong-a University and a leader of the Busan Hana Center, an institute that helps North Korean defectors in the South Korean port city of Busan.

Years of tension have made these two countries apart due to the North's nuclear program. The exercises had been delayed and shortened this year in order not to overshadow February's Olympic detente.

Technically in a state of war since a 1953 armistice, the two Koreas are divided between North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea. There was no further nuclear test after this.

It was unclear whether Kim Jong Un would make an appearance at the concerts. The young leader also met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week during his first overseas trip. He was also seen talking to members of Red Velvet, who have more than 4.6 million followers on Instagram. The regime has been cracking down on K-pop music that has entered the country via bootleg DVDs from China. "I had initially planned to attend a performance the day after tomorrow but I came here today after adjusting my schedule", Kim said, as quoted in a pool report.

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