[Newsmaker] Unification Ministry neither confirms nor denies Psy’s NK performance
The Ministry of Unification on Monday declined to comment on reports of Korea’s global phenom Psy being a last-minute addition to the South Korean art troupe performing in Pyongyang, saying relevant details to the performances would be revealed Tuesday.
“We have checked (relevant reports regarding Psy’s possible addition to the art troupe), but we do not have details regarding the matter at the moment,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun at a regular press briefing.
“There will be an opportunity to reveal matters related to the art troupe tomorrow after organizing the current situation surrounding the (scheduled performances),” he added.
The two Koreas decided that a 160-member South Korean art troupe would hold two performances in Pyongyang as a result of working-level talks held at the truce village of Panmunjom on March 20. Lee Sun-hee, Cho Yong-pil, girl group Red Velvet, Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun and rock band YB are among the list of artists participating in the events slated for April 1 and 3.
Although the roster of performing artists was largely confirmed during the talks, Yun Sang, a popular singer and composer who headed the South Korean delegation for the meeting, spoke of the possibility of further additions to the list during a follow-up press briefing.
According to industry sources, a South Korean advance team of officials discussed with Pyongyang adding Psy to the list of performers during the recent two-day trip to North Korea.
But the two sides apparently failed to reach an immediate agreement on Psy’s participation, added the sources, and will continue discussions.
South Korean media reports also said the head of the North Korean delegation, Hyon Song-wol, expressed disapproval of the artist performing, citing an unnamed source that attended the March 20 talks. The reports alluded to North Korea’s knowledge and recognition of popular K-pop music while mentioning the possibility of the North viewing the genre as “capitalistic” and too extreme.
Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, rose to international stardom with his global mega-hit “Gangnam Style,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks in 2012.
The South‘s art troupe will make a four-day trip to Pyongyang from March 31 for two performances under the title “Spring is Coming,” respectively on April 1 and April 3, ahead of an inter-Korean summit slated for late next month.
By Jung Min-kyung (email@example.com