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Kim Jong Un Attends Historic South Korean Cultural Performance In The North Korean Capital

KCNA via REUTERS

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Kim Jong Un just became the first North Korean leader to attend a South Korean cultural performance at a historic event in Pyongyang.

Kim attended a concert accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre Sunday featuring a 160-member South Korean art troupe, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. The performing group included a handful of K-pop stars.

South Korean K-pop idol singer Seohyun leaves for Pyongyang at the Gimpo International airport in Seoul, South Korea, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean K-pop idol singer Seohyun leaves for Pyongyang at the Gimpo International airport in Seoul, South Korea, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong and the North’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam also attended the performance. Both attended the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in made an appearance at a North Korean cultural event in South Korea during the Winter Olympics, so it was not surprising that Kim returned the favor. It is, however, a little shocking that he was present at a performance that featured South Korean pop music given that possession of materials celebrating South Korean culture is considered a criminal offense in North Korea.

Members of South Korean K-pop girl group Red Velvet leaves for Pyongyang at the Gimpo International airport in Seoul, South Korea, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Members of South Korean K-pop girl group Red Velvet leaves for Pyongyang at the Gimpo International airport in Seoul, South Korea, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Kim reportedly said that more inter-Korean cultural exchange events should be held in the future to strengthen ties between the two countries. As Sunday’s performance was called “Spring Comes,” he suggested that there should also be an “Autumn Comes” performance.

The young despot who spent the last year threatening the world with nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles was reportedly seen clapping as the South Korean musicians performed. He apparently inquired about the songs and the lyrics during the show.

Since Kim first expressed an interest in dialogue with South Korea in his New Year’s address, the world has witnessed an unprecedented level of diplomatic exchange between the two Koreas. Kim is expected to meet Moon later this month, and many expect him to meet President Donald Trump as well. The North Korean leader returned from his first state visit earlier this week when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

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