Just two years after K-pop was deployed as a soft weapon against his country, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was "deeply moved" following a two-hour performance by South Korean artists, the North Korean state news agency KCNA reported Monday.
South Korea's 160-person delegation — which included the K-pop group Red Velvet and Cho Yong Pil, the last South Korean to have performed in the North, back in 2005 — were in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Sunday to further stoke a warming of relations between the two countries, which have a summit planned for April 27.
Kim is the first North Korean leader to publicly attend a performance by South Korean artists in Pyongyang — Cho Yong Pil's 2005 concert was broadcast on television in North Korea, but Kim Jong Un's father Kim Jong Il reportedly did not attend — and was "particularly interested" in Red Velvet, a K-pop girl group, the publicly funded South Korean broadcaster KBS reported.
The performance was the latest public display in a diplomatic thaw between the two Koreas. In February, North Korea sent its own artistic olive branch to its southern neighbor, dispatching singers, dancers and an orchestra for a performance celebrating the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.