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N. Korea suspends scheduled mass gymnastic shows this month: official

North Korea 11:50 October 22, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to have suspended its signature mass gymnastic shows scheduled to be held until the end of this month after leader Kim Jong-un recently attended its performance, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

North Korea's media earlier reported that the propaganda shows would be put on stage from early last week to the end of this month at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang on the occasion of the ruling party's 75th founding anniversary on Oct. 10.

Kim attended its performance held on Oct. 11, but no more shows have been held since, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"It remains to be seen whether the shows have been temporarily suspended or just canceled," he said. "We will keep an eye on relevant developments going forward."

Earlier, a local daily reported that the scheduled gymnastic shows have been put on hold, speculating that it might have been caused by Kim's expression of dissatisfaction or concerns over the coronavirus.

Earlier this year, a Beijing-based tour agency said that North Korea had informed the company of its plans to hold the gymnastic propaganda show in time for the party founding anniversary.

Observers, however, had expected the North to cancel the shows in consideration of the country's all-out efforts to stave off an outbreak of COVID-19.

North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free, but it has imposed strict restrictions on the movement of people and maintained tight border closure since early this year.

In this photo captured from the North's Korean Central Television on Oct. 12, 2020, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) waves during a mass gymnastics and artistic performance at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang the previous day in celebration of the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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