The five-member girl group performed their hits “Bad Boy” and “Red Flavor” in front of North Korean citizens. Kim Jong-un, Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju, and his powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong, as well as ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, were also in attendance in Pyongyang on Sunday, according to Associated Press via South China Morning Post
“There had been interest in whether I would come and see Red Velvet. I had initially planned to attend a performance the day after tomorrow but I came here today after adjusting my schedule,” Kim said, as quoted in a pool report. “I thank you for this kind of gift to Pyongyang citizens.”
Seoul’s culture chief and the head of the delegation, Do Jong-hwan, said that Kim showed “great interest in the songs and lyrics (of South Korean singers) during the concert,” and that they “should hold culture and art performances frequently.”
After the performance, the rogue nation’s leader personally went backstage to shake the hands of the group and take photos with them. Kim praised the group, who has more than 4.6 million Instagram followers
, for their wonderful performance as well as asked the art troupe, which consists of 160 members from different entertainment field
, to extend his appreciation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a wonderful concert.
“Please tell (South Korean) President Moon Jae-in how great an event like this is … I am grateful for a gift like this (concert) to the people of Pyongyang,” he said.
Members of the K-pop group, meanwhile, were pretty relieved by the North Korean audience and Kim’s reception to their performance.
“The North’s audience applauded to our performance much louder than we expected and even sang along to our songs … it was a big relief,” Yeri, a member of the band, said. Another member of the group, Wendy, added, “I told myself, ‘let’s do our best even if there’s no response (from the audience) … but they showed so much reaction.”
The audience’ lively welcome to the group even reportedly made one of the members, Seulgi, red-eyed — overwhelmed with emotions when they bid farewell to the fans at the end of their concert.
Entertainment materials such as K-pop music and television shows from South Korea are becoming quite popular in the North despite the regime’s strict control over unauthorized foreign culture import to the country. As reported by AP, these materials are smuggled into North Korea via flash drives across the border with China.