South Korea’s Moon watches concert with Kim Jong’s sister
South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat next to the powerful sister of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un at a concert in Seoul by musicians from Pyongyang, as conservative protesters burned the North’s national flag outside on Sunday. The show was the final set-piece element of the North Korean delegation’s landmark visit, the diplomatic highlight of the Olympics-driven rapprochement between the two halves of the peninsula.
They have shared kimchi and soju, sat in the same box at the Olympics opening ceremony and cheered a unified women’s ice hockey team.
Kim yesterday invited Moon to a summit in the North, an offer extended by his sister and special envoy Kim Yo Jong, who made history as the first member of the North’s ruling dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War.
Pictures showed Yo Jong seated between Moon and the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, who is officially leading the North’s delegation, and applauding at today’s concert.
The show was given by some 140 members of Pyongyang’s Samjiyon Orchestra as part of a cross-border deal in which the isolated nuclear-armed North sent hundreds of athletes, cheerleaders and others to the Pyeongchang Winter Games in the South. At a dinner beforehand with senior Seoul officials, Yo Jong said she found the two Koreas still had much in common despite decades of separation. Before flying south, she said, she had expected “things would be very different and unfamiliar”, according to a statement from Moon’s office.
“But it turned out that there were many things similar and in common,” she went on. “I hope that the day we become one will be brought forward.” But the rapprochement pushed by the dovish Moon has angered conservatives, who accuse him of being a North Korea sympathiser and undermining the security alliance with the US.
“Having these red communists in the heart of Seoul is an utter humilation!” one shouted near the venue as dozens of others waved banners condemning both Moon and Kim Jong Un.
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