Red Velvet's Joy will not travel to Pyongyang


Sunday's two-hour concert in Pyongyang, along with a separate taekwondo performance earlier in the day, comes as South Korea's engagement with North Korea has continued to grow since Kim expressed his willingness for more contact between the two countries.

Legendary boy band Shinhwa, which performed in Pyongyang in 2003, wished the cultural troupe good luck ahead of its departure to North Korea tomorrow (March 31).

Kim and his wife, a former singer herself, came to watch yesterday's show, making him the first leader of the North to attend a concert by South Korean performers.

K-pop group Red Velvet have finally touched down in Pyongyang, North Korea, among a large group of delegates poised to perform in the country.

Fifteen years later, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking to engage the region's major powers after advances in his nuclear program prompted the United Nations to tighten sanctions and U.S. President Donald Trump to threaten war.

In February, the 26-year old performed alongside North Korea's 137-strong Samjiyon Orchestra, which was part of North Korea's art troupe during the recent Winter Games.

As many as 160 K-pop musicians could take part in the concerts; such top musicians as Cho Yong Pil, the five-strong Red Velvet female band (except for one of its members, Joy, who didn't join her bandmates due to scheduling conflicts with the drama she's now starring in and was harshly slammed on social media for her being absent) and the solo singer Seohuyn will perform for their North Korean neighbors.

During a meeting with North Korea's Culture Minister Pak, Do said he hopes the planned performance will serve as a stepping stone for inter-Korean cultural exchange and cooperation which he thinks are key to improving inter-Korean relations.

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A Seoul television channel, MBC, reported that North Korean officials had rejected Psy from the concert lineup.

He met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week during his first overseas trip.

No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit although it is expected before the end of May.

In another sign of eased tensions, an annual US-South Korean military exercise which got under way in the South Sunday will last for just one month compared to some two months normally.

In another sign of reduced tensions, the US and South Korea will only hold scaled-down military exercises this week, which will not involve strategic weapons such as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. On Tuesday, the two Koreas plan to hold a joint performance.

Another famous singer, Choi Jin-hee, also performed for the fourth time in the North and sang "Maze of Love" - a pan-peninsula hit and another of the late Kim's favourites.

K-pop - characterised by its manufactured melodies and slick approach to marketing - has penetrated into North Korea over the past 10 years.

The stiffened crowd refused to respond to the athletes who asked them to clap their hands to Fire - an intense electro-dance score peppered with rapid-fire rap delivered in both Korean and English.