World Ch. Schedule : TUE 07:35 KST
* Date : 2018-04-10
Foreign Correspondents Ep.81 - Inter-Korean cultural exchanges
"Spring is Coming", the South Korean art troupe's performance in Pyongyang
On March 31, ahead of the inter-Korean summit, a South Korean art troupe and Taekwondo demonstrators arrived in Pyongyang. In a reciprocal move from Seoul, following the visit by a North Korean art troupe in February, South Korean artists delivered a two-day performance in North Korea on April 1st and 3rd. Under the theme of "Spring is Coming", 25 artists from 11 groups were greeted with applause and enthusiastic support from the North Korean audience, a radical departure from the cold receptions seen in the past. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surprised many by attending the performance, the first for any North Korean leader, even taking photographs with the artists following the event. He also suggested holding a follow-up performance in Seoul under the theme of "The Arrival of Fall" later this year. In this week's edition of "Foreign Correspondents", we sit down with our panel of journalists to discuss the significance of the South Korean art troupe's performance, on the eve of a historic summit between the two Koreas.
A 30-year history of inter-Korean cultural exchanges
The South Korean art troupe's performance in Pyongyang was covered at length by many foreign media outlets. Going back in history, the first inter-Korean exchange took place in the year 1985. Ahead of the first-ever family reunions of those separated by the Korean War, Pyongyang proposed an exchange of cultural performances with Seoul to coincide with this event. The exchanges also evolved in characteristics with the passing of time. Starting off with traditional Korean music and classical music in the 1980s and 1990s, idol groups and pop singers began taking on a larger role in the performances starting from the late 1990s. Following the last concert in Pyongyang by legendary singer Cho Yong-pil in 2005, no South Korean artist has visited North Korea in over 10 years. The hiatus was broken after North Korea announced its intention to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, which was followed by a resumption in cross-border cultural exchanges. This week, we look back at the history of inter-Korean cultural exchanges to hold a wide array of discussions on this subject.