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Latest S. Korean pop culture penetrates N. Korea

All News 19:11 February 13, 2013

SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- The latest South Korean pop culture, including the international hit song "Gangnam Style", has deeply permeated North Korea despite widely held beliefs that the country is completely isolated from outside influence, a South Korean human rights group said Wednesday.

A video clip by Caleb's Mission, a Christian group dedicated to improving human rights conditions in the North, showed two North Koreans moving their shoulders up and down in amusement in front of a television set playing rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video, which became a worldwide sensation in late 2012.

The video file, which the group said was recorded in a North Korean city bordering China, also featured another North Korean household with a DVD player showing the latest K-pop songs as well as a South Korean drama.

A woman's voice heard over the tune of Gangnam style hurriedly made a warning during the song that authorities may be coming to crack down, said the group during a news conference.

North Koreans have a thirst for South Korean pop culture, with the latest TV dramas from their Southern neighbors arising as everyday topics in conversation among citizens, Rev. Kim Sung-eun of Caleb's Mission said.

Northern cities bordering China are always the first to receive goods, often smuggled or secretly donated from the outside, with most of residents in North Korea's northern port city of Chongjin having knowledge about South Korea's pop culture, Kim said.

"And we think North Korea authorities are aware of it," Kim said referring to the widespread cultural influence from the South.

North Koreans that the mission group has met or helped to escape the communist country said North Koreans living in areas far below the border also know about South Korean pop and drama, the reverend said.

His mission and other nongovernmental organizations are leading the movement to promote outside influence into the North by sending music CDs and other goods through the border, he said.

Despite recent reports on tightened border security under the new Kim Jong-un regime, North Koreans still have some leeway to move in and out of the border with China, Kim also said.


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