January 24, 2018 12:13
North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra will perform in the South Korean resort of Gangneung the day before the Winter Olympics start in nearby Pyeongchang.
North Korea sent a message to South Korea on Tuesday night that the orchestra will perform at Gangneung Culture and Art Center on Feb. 8 and at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul on Feb. 11, the Unification Ministry said.
The two venues apparently found favor with the bandleader, Hyon Song-wol, who made a widely publicized inspection tour of potential venues over the weekend.
The first performance coincides with a massive military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 70th army founding anniversary. The musicians will arrive in Gangneung on Feb. 6 and return to Pyongyang on Feb. 12.
The North also confirmed that it will send 12 female ice hockey players to compete in a unified team with South Korean athletes in the Olympics, together with a coach and two support personnel.
The International Olympic Committee agreed on Saturday that the ice hockey team will consist of 23 South Korean women, who have qualified for the Olympics, and the 12 North Koreans, who have not.
Meanwhile, a South Korean inspection team headed to North Korea's Masikryong Ski Resort on Tuesday before up-and-coming South Korean skiers are sent there to train.
They were also taken to North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort by bus to inspect an auditorium and the family reunions venue, which will host inter-Korean cultural events. South Korea's Hyundai Group spent W46 billion building the auditorium that can seat 620 people (US$1=W1,075). The facility for reunions of families separated by the Korea War at Mt. Kumgang, which was built with W5.5 billion from a cross-border exchange fund, is capable of accommodating 1,000 people.
Among South Korean inspectors is a government official in charge of supporting K-pop, which raises speculation that South Korean stars could be performing in North Korea during the Olympics.
They then move on to Masikryong Ski Resort, where they will check among other things whether South Korean passenger planes could land at the airport in nearby Wonsan.
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