North Korean 140-Member Orchestra to Perform at Winter Olympics

Published January 15th, 2018 - 02:27 GMT
In a photo taken on Jan. 10, 2018 members of the South Korean air force Black Eagle aerobatic team perform above the ski jump venue of the Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympics (YONHAP / AFP)
In a photo taken on Jan. 10, 2018 members of the South Korean air force Black Eagle aerobatic team perform above the ski jump venue of the Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympics (YONHAP / AFP)

 

  • North Korea will send an orchestra of 140 members to the Winter Games
  • This comes after the two Koreas last week held high-level talks for the first time in two years
  • North Korean performers last staged a show in the South in 2002
  • North Korea threatened to withdraw from the Olympics over the weekend

 

North Korea will send an orchestra of 140 members to accompany its Olympic delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.

This was part of a five-point agreement between South and North Korean officials at a four-a-side meeting on Monday held to discuss Pyongyang's proposal to send a cultural troupe to the Games.

The two Koreas agreed that the North's Samjiyon Orchestra would perform in Seoul as well as the northern city of Gangneung where some of the Olympic Games will be held, according to the Unification Ministry.

North Korean performers last staged a show in the South in 2002 when a group of 30 singers and dancers visited Seoul for a joint event, according to Yonhap.

Whether the orchestra will be joined by the North's Moranbong Band "needed confirmation," according to the ministry.

The all-female Moranbong Band was formed in 2012 under the orders of the North's leader Kim Jong Un. The group performs a mix of Western pop songs and state propaganda music.

Its leader Hyon Song-wol attended the Monday meeting as Pyongyang's vice chief delegate.

Further details on the cultural troupe will be settled through follow-up talks and the exchange of documents, according to a joint statement disclosed after the meeting.

It also said Pyongyang would send a team in advance to arrange the details of the performances such as the venues and stage equipment.

The meeting comes after the two Koreas last week held high-level talks for the first time in two years, agreeing to facilitate the North's participation in the Olympics.

 

 

The North had agreed to send a delegation of athletes, officials, performers and reporters to the South.

Seoul said it would accommodate their visit with necessary support.

Later on Monday, the ministry confirmed the two sides would hold working-level talks on the North's Olympic participation on Wednesday 10 a.m.

Pyongyang said it would send three officials to the Peace House located in the truce village of Panmunjom, led by Jon Jong-su, Vice Chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification.

South Korea had earlier suggested holding the comprehensive discussion on Monday but the North proposed discussing details of its cultural delegation instead, Dong-A Ilbo reported.

North Korea, over the weekend, threatened it could go back on its decision to take part in the Olympics, after South Korean leader Moon Jae-in credited U.S. President Donald Trump with making inter-Korean dialogue possible.

"They should know that [the] train and bus carrying our delegation to the Olympics are still in Pyongyang... The South Korean authorities had better ponder over what unfavorable results may be entailed by their impolite behavior," the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Sunday in its English report.

The size of the North's delegation to Pyeongchang and the categories it can compete in are expected to be confirmed after an International Olympic Committee meeting on Saturday.

The two Koreas will hold working-level discussions before the meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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