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(2nd LD) N. Korean delegation in S. Korea to inspect concert venues

By: yonhapnews.co.kr 1 month ago
(2nd LD) N. Korean delegation in S. Korea to inspect concert venues

A North Korean delegation headed to Gangnueng, an eastern South Korean city, Sunday to check the venues for its proposed art performances at next month's PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

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(ATTN: UPDATES with Gangneung trip, other details; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean delegation headed to Gangnueng, an eastern South Korean city, Sunday to check the venues for its proposed art performances at next month's PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The seven-member team is led by Hyon Song-wol, head of the North's Samjiyon Orchestra, and known as one of the most influential women in the secretive communist nation.

She also serves as director of the Moranbong Band, the country's well-known all-female musical group, reportedly created at the order of leader Kim Jong-un. There's a rumor that she is an ex-girlfriend of Kim.

Hyon, clad in a dark coat, wearing a fur muffler, arrived at Seoul Station around 10:22 a.m. and boarded a KTX bullet train bound for Gangneung, 260 kilometers east of the capital.

The North Koreans plan to inspect the stage, audio system and other conditions for the upcoming performance, discussing its schedule and program.

In Gangneung, the North Koreans will likely tour the Gangneung Arts Center and visit another candidate site in Seoul on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the North's delegation crossed the land border via the Gyeongui Line for the two-day trip, becoming the first North Koreans to travel to the South since the launch of the Moon Jae-in administration in May last year.

It's also the first time that the inter-Korean route has been used since the shutdown of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in early 2016.

Several South Korean officials greeted the North Koreans at the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) office at Dorasan Station, just south of the border.

The North has agreed to join the Olympics slated for Feb. 9-25 and the 10-day Paralympics that start on March 9, which will be staged in the South's eastern towns of PyeongChang and Gangneung.

It plans to send a 140-member art performance group, consisting of an orchestra, singers and dancers, for concerts in Seoul and Gangneung.

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