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(2nd LD) Artists of two Koreas to perform together in Pyongyang on April 3: officials

All Headlines 14:28 March 24, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with press briefing in Beijing by South Korean advance team; CHANGES dateline)

BEIJING/SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's art troupe will perform together with North Korean artists in one of the two rare concerts slated for early next month in Pyongyang, Seoul officials said Saturday.

A 160-member South Korean art troupe is scheduled to visit North Korea from March 31 to April 3 for rare performances ahead of the inter-Korean summit scheduled for late April. The group includes celebrated K-pop singers, such as Cho Yong-pil, Red Velvet and Seohyun.

Tak Hyun-min, a protocol presidential aide to President Moon Jae-in, told Yonhap News Agency upon his arrival in Beijing from a three-day trip to Pyongyang to arrange the shows, that the South Korean art group will hold an individual concert on April 1 and a joint concert with North Korean artists on April 3.

(2nd LD) Artists of two Koreas to perform together in Pyongyang on April 3: officials - 1

He also said the title of the two concerts was set to be "Spring Comes" and that the number of South Korean performers could rise due to the joint performances.

Tak led a six-member advance team of government officials and experts who were sent to check venues of the upcoming performances.

While in Pyongyang, the team had discussions with their North Korean counterparts on details of the performance schedules and programs, according to Seoul officials. The North Korean delegation was led by Hyon Song-wol, head of the all-female Moranbong Band.

They said the team also checked lighting and sound quality of the East Pyongyang Grand Theater and the Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium, where the troupe will perform, and the Koryo Hotel, where the performers are expected to stay.

As for the joint concert, Tak said it will contain a richer program than the concerts during the South Korea tour by a North Korean art troupe last month.

"When the Samjiyon Orchestra came in, we could not go further from Seohyun singing 'Our Wish Is Unification' together with the North Koreans because of time constraints," Tak said. "There will likely be various forms of joint performance this time."

For instance, North Korean instrumental players will perform with South Korean singers and vice versa and there also will be a joint performance by the two Koreas' instrumental players, he said. "I think the number of the South Korean art group will likely increase due to the joint performances."

Since having just finished drawing a big picture of the shows, the two sides are still exchanging opinions to decide on minor details like stage costumes, he added.

Tak and his team are scheduled to return home from Beijing in the afternoon.

The government is pushing for a plan to charter a plane so the artists can fly directly into Pyongyang from Seoul over the Yellow Sea, according to the officials.
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