South Korean “K-Pop” stars will tour North Korea next month as Seoul continues attempts to soften relations between itself and the rogue communist state.
Yonhap News Agency reports that around 150 artists, at least ten of whom are “K-Pop” stars, will arrive in Pyongyang on March 31 as a reciprocal visit for North Korea’s performance delegation sent to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry revealed that the tour was agreed on during talks in the mutual border area of Panmunjom and will last for four days.
“While we’re on the stage, I believe it will be difficult to portray personal feelings towards denuclearization,” said singer and record producer Yoon Sang, who has helped organize the tour.
“Our first task will be to instill the same awe in North Korean audiences as we do our South Korean ones, and make sure nothing is awkward,” he continued. “Selected South Korean musicians are known to North Korea as icons of South Korean pop music beyond ideology.”
Among the bands present will be K-pop girl group Red Velvet and Seohyun, a former singer in iconic K-pop band Girls’ Generation.
Shows will be held at some of North Korea’s less impressive venues, including the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre and the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium.
The move marks another step forward in the recent “thaw” between two nations, which began with joint efforts at the Winter Olympics including walking under the same banner and fielding a joint ice hockey team.
Other peace initiatives have included talks between a South Korean delegation and communist dictator Kim Jong-un, with the young tyrant recently revealing his plans to fulfill his father’s “dying wish” of denuclearization, and has even agreed to a meeting with President Donald Trump.
Throughout the past decades, musicians and other entertainment groups have visited North Korea sporadically, with the last K-Pop performance taking place in 2005.
The sending of K-Pop artists is perhaps surprising given South Korea’s use of the music to blast music towards the North, having previously done so on Kim Jong-un’s birthday in an attempt to ruin his celebrations.
K-Pop is one of the most popular music genres in South Korea, with the music drawing inspiration from around the world in multiple styles and genres, and has recently expanded to audiences around the world.
In January, millions of K-Pop fans were left devastated following the suicide of the lead vocalist of superstar pop group SHINee, Kim Jong-hyun, blaming his meteoric rise to fame as a principal cause of his unhappiness.