Korean art troupe arrives in Pyongyang for performances

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It marks the first by South Korean artists to perform in the North since Cho held a solo concert in Pyongyang in 2005.

The concerts are partly a reciprocal gesture from the South after the North sent cheerleaders and a performance troupe to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the Winter Olympics in February.

In addition to Red Velvet, the line-up of artists to perform include Seohyun, a member of Girls' Generation, the rock band YB, singers Baek Ji-young, Jung-in and Ali, as well as Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee and Choi Jin-hee.

"The whole goal of cultural exchange is to open the gates for better relations between the North and the South, which have been strained for a decade", said Professor Kang Dong Wan at Dong-a University and a leader of the Busan Hana Centre, an institute that helps North Korean defectors in the South Korean port city of Busan.

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

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This composite photo shows 10 South Korean artists and a girl group set to perform in Pyongyang.

"Spring literally has arrived and it also presents our wishes for spring to come over our relationship between the North and the South", Hwang Seong-un, a spokesman for South Korea's culture ministry said at a briefing in Seoul on March 27.

The leaders of the two countries are scheduled to meet for a summit on April 27, the first in more than a decade.

South Korean media pool reports from Pyongyang said Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, watched Sunday's performance by the South Korean group at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater.

Such deployments during past drills has frequently drawn an angry response from Pyongyang. On Tuesday, the two Koreas plan to hold a joint performance. The performance was delayed by two hours for "the convenience of more audience", Yonhap News Agency reported.

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

'Unfortunately, she will not be able to attend the concert'.

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.

Despite the North's isolation and strict curbs on unauthorised foreign culture, backed up by prison terms, K-pop has become increasingly popular there thanks to flash drives smuggled across the border with China. She had performed with the North's Samjiyon Orchestra in Seoul in February.

K-pop legend Cho said: "I will comfortably perform in the North as I do here". During the taekwondo event, a previously-enraptured audience turned stone-faced during a performance combining K-pop dance and Taekwondo routines to a hit song by the ultra-popular boyband BTS.

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