January 21, 2018 16:35
A North Korean delegation led by bandleader-cum-apparatchik Hyon Song-wol arrived in Seoul on Sunday to check the venues for performances of Hyon's orchestra during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The seven-member delegation crossed the border on the inter-Korean Gyeongui railway line around 10 a.m. They were then taken to Seoul Station by bus and boarded a bullet train to Gangneung, Gangwon Province, some 260 km east of the capital.
Hundreds of reporters gathered at Seoul Station to cover the first visit of North Korean officials since the shutdown of the Kaesong industrial complex in February 2016. Access was strictly screened by the police and caused some paying passengers to complain about the inconvenience.
They arrived at Gangneung at 12:50 p.m. and had lunch at a hotel in the resort city before touring the concert venues and other facilities. They return to Seoul on Monday to inspect other venues.
The Samjiyon Orchestra is a leading band in North Korea and specializes in patriotic and revolutionary tunes. Hyon is also in charge of a girl band called Moranbong and is rumored to have been North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's girlfriend.
She was supposed to visit Seoul on Saturday but abruptly rescheduled the trip.
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