September 20, 2018 09:47
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday watched a performance of the North's notorious mass games together.
Entitled "Glorious Country," it brought together thousands of performers at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang who threw shapes in queasy unison and formed giant pictures with pieces of colored cardboard.
As the two leaders entered the stadium together, the 150,000 spectators erupted in equally choreographed applause.
The two leaders then addressed the huddled masses. After being introduced by Kim, Moon told them, "We are creating a new era together. We solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will no longer be war on the Korean Peninsula. We confirmed the principle of the self-reliance of our people in determining our own fate."
Moon added, "I witnessed the surprising development of Pyongyang during my trip. We lived together for 5,000 years but have been separated for 70 years. I use this opportunity to propose taking a big step toward peace and to end 70 years of hostility."
The performance started at 9 p.m. and lasted only an hour. "Glorious Country" is a new version of the mass calisthenics formerly entitled "Arirang" after the Korean folk song, and was first staged at the North's founding day celebrations earlier this month.
It represents glorious achievements like North Korea's nuclear weapons development and extols the regime of the Kim dynasty, though Wednesday's performance cut about 30 minutes of the most blatant propaganda.
Former president Roh Moo-hyun also watched the mass games when he went to Pyongyang in 2007. The 2007 performance involved 100,900 performers and set the Guinness record for the biggest cast ever.
North Korea markets the tickets mainly to Chinese tourists at an eye-watering price to bring in much-needed valuta.
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