A highly-anticipated appearance in Beijing by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s favorite girl band was abruptly cancelled Saturday, hours before the group was set to perform and with no official explanation given.
The Moranbong band's shows at China's National Center for the Performing Arts have been cancelled "due to some reasons," an employee at the venue told China Real Time Saturday night. A person who had a ticket to one of the band’s invitation-only shows confirmed that he received a cancellation notice late Saturday afternoon.
Short hair, glittery miniskirts, electronic pop music and perhaps even the theme song from the 1976 Hollywood hit "Rocky" were expected to grace the stage of Beijing’s top music hall Saturday night as the Moranbong band was set to kick off three days of shows in the Chinese capital.
The group — which was accompanied by an army orchestra, the State Merited Chorus – arrived in Beijing on Thursday and was expected to stay until next Tuesday on what the North Korean official news agency KCNA described as a “friendship visit” to China.
China’s state-run media lit up with news reports on the group’s visit in recent days, with the official Xinhua News Agency publishing a slideshow showing the women arriving in Beijing dressed in military-style frocks and fur hats.
It was unclear Saturday evening whether the band was still in Beijing. Japan’s Kyodo News Service reported that band members were seen at Beijing’s Capital International Airport and had flown back to Pyongyang late Saturday afternoon. But no updates were forthcoming from Xinhua and other Chinese state-run media.
The visit was to have been the group’s first overseas tour — although no one, it seemed, knew how to obtain a ticket.