South Korean reporters clash with North Korean authorities over Pyongyang concert

A picture released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, shows Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un (C), together with his wife Ri Sol Ju, conversing with attendees and artists after enjoying the performance 'Spring Comes,' given by an art troupe from South Korea, at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 1, 2018. EPA-EFE/KCNA

SEOUL, April 2 (UPI) — A high-ranking North Korean official apologized to South Korean reporters for restricting access to a Pyongyang concert staged by major K-Pop artists.

According to a pool report, Kim Yong-chol, a high-ranking Workers’ Party official who oversees inter-Korean affairs, visited Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang to ask South Korean reporters for their understanding as regime leader Kim Jong Un had attended the concert on Sunday.

“We had the responsibility of providing the freedom and convenience of media coverage,” he said. “I apologize on the behalf of North Korean authorities over the mishap.”

This comes after South Korean media were reportedly barred from the concert hall where the anticipated performance of South Korean musicians took place from 6:50 p.m. Seoul time.

Reporters were allowed access to the two-hour rehearsal session which ended at 5:50 p.m. After returning from a short break, the media crew found all their bags had been removed from the concert hall and were placed outside the premises.

Only one camera reporter was allowed back into the concert hall while the remaining seven were led to a corridor behind the stage.

At around 6:30 p.m., shortly before the performance started, the reporters asked organizers whether the event would really begin an hour later as scheduled but didn’t receive a response, the pool report said.

They discovered the performance had started when they heard clapping from the audience, and had to cover the event through live footage on a television set in a dressing room backstage.

South Korea’s high-ranking officials, including the minister of culture, who attended the concert were reportedly unaware that the reporters had been excluded from the performance.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Monday that it filed a strong complaint to North Korean authorities over the affair, Yonhap reported.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here