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Report: North Korea's Ri Sol Ju jokes to magician about 'disappearing'

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea first lady Ri Sol Ju (L) and first lady Kim Jung-sook met again this week in Pyongyang. Photo by Pyongyang Press Corps/UPI
North Korea first lady Ri Sol Ju (L) and first lady Kim Jung-sook met again this week in Pyongyang. Photo by Pyongyang Press Corps/UPI

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- North Korea first lady Ri Sol Ju reportedly asked a South Korean magician visiting Pyongyang if he could "make her disappear" during the landmark inter-Korea summit this week, according to a South Korean press report.

The comment, conveyed as a joke to a visiting South Korean magician, came while Ri was hosting South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, South Korean television network Channel A reported Friday.

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Choi Hyun-woo, the magician, said Ri and Kim were in good spirits during their meeting.

"There was a good atmosphere between the two first ladies," Choi said of the summit, adding magic is "very popular" in North Korea.

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Other South Korean singers and artists who visited the North with President Moon Jae-in said they saw a country keenly pursuing the development of the arts, according to Channel A.

The artists said they have returned with a positive impression of the Kim Jong Un regime -- a country off-limits to South Koreans.

The summit was an opportunity for artists like the singer Ailee to display their skills before the North Korean leader and Moon.

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Ailee, who is Korean American, sung the traditional Korean folk tune "Arirang," while accompanying the leaders to Mount Paektu.

South Korean composer Kim Hyung-seok played an impromptu piano piece at the Samjiyon Guest House, where Kim Jong Un hosted Moon at a luncheon. South Korean hip-hop artist Zico rapped before North Koreans. He later said he received "many artistic inspirations" while in the country.

"It was a good experience," he told Channel A.

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Following the summit, Moon is headed to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

MBC reported Thursday the Blue House said the summit between Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump is being held to achieve a "virtuous cycle" in U.S.-North Korea relations and inter-Korea ties.

The goals include making progress on an end-of-war declaration, which Moon has advocated, and to set up a second U.S.-North Korea summit, according to the report.

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