Kim Jong Un watched a rare performance by South Korean female pop stars on Sunday in North Korea’s capital ahead of his meeting with South Korean president as tensions thaw between rivaling countries, media reports said.
Kim watched the performance at East Pyongyang Grand Theater with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, South Korean media pool reported. The performance was delayed by two hours for “the convenience of more audience,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
A South Korean artistic group that included 11 K-pop singers and girl band Red Velvet arrived in Pyongyang Saturday for two performances. The second performance is expected to be held Tuesday.
The despot watched the two-hour performance titled “Spring Comes” and was seen clapping his hands during the event. He shook hands with the performers and took a group photo, according to reports.
Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, and other top officials, including nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, were also at the event.
An unidentified South Korean official said Kim was initially going to attend the Tuesday performance, but had to change his plan due to a scheduling conflict. South Korea and North Korea are expected to hold a joint performance on Tuesday.
The event comes ahead of the April 27 summit, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in is set to meet with Kim at a border village. Kim is also expected to meet President Trump in May in a separate summit. An official date has not been set.
South Korean pop singers performed in the North during a past era of detente, but it was the first time for a North Korean leader to attend such a South Korean performance. Before Sunday's performance, South Korea last sent a pop singer to North Korea in 2005.
Kim made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week ahead of the despot’s talks with Moon and Trump. U.S. and South Korea also began annual military drills on the Korean Peninsula after a hiatus between the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The drill is expected to be a month shorter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.