K-pop and Diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula

K-pop girl band, Red Velvet, is about to face what may be its toughest audience yet: North Korea.

 

photo credit to: https://www.bloombergquint.com

 

The chart-topping South Korean girl group will perform on Sunday with 10 other South Korean music groups at the first of two concerts this week held in Pyongyang. It is the latest advance in SoKor’s decades-long cultural diplomacy push aimed at softening it’s nuclear-armed neighbor.

 

Taking place a month before both countries leaders meet, the music tour could be a test of North Korea’s attitude to the rest of the world.

 

As Red Velvet dance to “Red Flavor” and “Bad Boy” to about 1,500 North Korean elite at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater on Sunday night, they will be hoping for a less cold reception than those that have gone before them.

 

2017 saw North Korea withdraw from a nuclear treaty and threatened to test atomic weapons. Former U.S. President, George W. Bush, labelled them a member of the “axis of evil” in 2002, angering then-ruler, Kim Jong-il.

Fast forward fifteen years and North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is seeking to reach out to Asia’s major powers after advances in their nuclear program prompted the United Nations to tighten sanctions and U.S. President Donald Trump to threaten war.

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, recently attended the first concert in Pyongyang for more than a decade by South Korean performers.

 

U.S. and South Korea begin low-level military drill despite a diplomatic opening, which could spark another NoKor threat. America has been very keen to support it’s allies against the Communist-backed regime under the Kim dynasty and they regularly hold military drills.

 

These drills are one reason for North Korea’s many threats including the unannounced launching of ballistic missiles in early 2017.

 

During a surprise visit to Beijing last week, Kim indicated he is willing to talk with Trump about giving up nuclear weapons.

 

Reference: K-pop stars turn diplomatic envoys with concert dates in North Korea

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