Kim attends rare concert by South Korean pop stars

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Sunday's two-hour concert in Pyongyang, along with a separate taekwondo performance earlier in the day, comes as South Korea's engagement with North Korea has continued to grow since Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness for more contact between the two countries.

Kim and his wife, a former singer herself, came to watch yesterday's show, making him the first leader of the North to attend a concert by South Korean performers.

The emcee of yesterday's concert was a popular member of K-pop band Girls' Generation, Seohyun, who had performed with the visiting North Korean singers during their Seoul concert in February.

Seohyun, a female vocalist and actress now with South Korean girl group Girls' Generation, sang a North Korean pop song called "Blue Willow Tree".

Kim clapped his hands during the event, and he shook hands with South Korean performers and took a group photo with them after their performance, according to the reports.

Kim proposed that the next one be held in Seoul under the title "Autumn Comes".

South Korea and North Korea are expected to hold a joint performance on Tuesday.

South Korean artists pose for a photo at the Pyongyang International Airport on Saturday.

Fifteen years later, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking to engage the region's major powers after advances in his nuclear programme prompted the United Nations to tighten sanctions and President Donald Trump to threaten war.

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In February, North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra performed in the South to celebrate the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The singer, unfortunately, is unable to attend either of Red Velvet's Pyongyang concerts (scheduled for Sunday, April 1 and Tuesday, April 3) due to scheduling conflicts with her TV show.

Although almost 300,000 South Korean troops and 24,000 American troops will take part, the drill will be a month shorter than usual and will not involve nuclear submarines. No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit.

Red Velvet, which debuted in 2014, plans to sing two of its recent hits, "Red Flavor" and "Bad Boy".

Joy, one of the five members, would miss the trip to Pyongyang due to her TV drama shooting schedule, their agency has said.

Despite the North's isolation and strict curbs on unauthorised foreign culture, enforced with prison terms, K-pop and Seoul's TV shows have become increasingly popular there thanks to flash drives smuggled across the border with China.

Other Seoul stars to join the concerts include Cho Yong-pil, a singer who held a solo sell-out concert in Pyongyang in 2005.

The audiences for the concerts will consist mostly of elite, loyal cadres unlikely to undergo a sudden ideological conversion under the influence of a few K-pop stars.

Kim's late father and longtime ruler, Kim Jong-il, was known to be a fan of the 68-year-old Cho.

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