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South offers K-pop concert for joint show at Kumgang

Jan 27,2018
A senior South Korean government official who visited North Korea earlier this week to examine the Mount Kumgang resort, Masikryong ski range and Kalma Airport after Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to possibly use them in the coming days for pre-Olympic celebrations said Friday that all the facilities are in stable condition - and that the South has offered to hold a K-pop concert at the mountain resort.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, briefed local media that both Koreas have yet to hammer out any decisions apart from those already made before his three-day inspection, but that both sides shared suggestions for the events and will make the final call soon.

A 12-member delegation led by Lee Joo-tae, director general of the Unification Ministry’s Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Bureau, entered the North on Tuesday morning to check facilities on Mount Kumgang, where a joint cultural event will be held, and the Masikryong ski resort, where South Korean skiers will train with North Koreans. They returned Thursday evening.

The group also visited Kalma Airport to see whether visiting South Koreans could fly over the border for the events instead of taking a road connecting the two countries near the east coast, which would take longer, especially if it snows and the road freezes.

Seoul suggested that the Mount Kumgang cultural event include performances of “literature, contemporary music and traditional music,” according to the official, while Pyongyang said it preferred traditional music. K-pop was also offered by the South, though it is not known how the North responded.

The concert, which will last for two hours or less, will be split in half, with each country performing half the total time. In the end, there will be joint performances, as well.

A 600-person capacity cultural hall at the mountain resort will most likely be selected as the venue for the concert. The crowd will also be split in half, to be attended by audiences from both countries. When the delegation visited Masikryong Ski Resort, some 40 to 50 people were skiing on the slopes, according to the source, who shrugged when asked by a reporter whether it could have been staged by the regime.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]