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North Korea's Moranbong Band to tour China, report says

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea's all women Moranbong Band is scheduled to visit China, years after a nationwide tour was canceled in 2015. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun/EPA
North Korea's all women Moranbong Band is scheduled to visit China, years after a nationwide tour was canceled in 2015. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun/EPA

Oct. 31 (UPI) -- North Korea's all-women's Moranbong Band is expected to launch a nationwide tour in China, and the event could coincide with a summit between Kim Jong Un and China's Xi Jinping, according to a South Korean press report.

The band could stage concerts in major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chongqing and Guangzhou, Donga Ilbo reported Thursday.

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Moranbong Band is set to begin its tour in the Chinese capital upon the invitation of the China International Cultural Communication Center in cooperation with a cultural group in Guangzhou.

A source at the Guangzhou group told the Donga on Thursday the North Korean band is performing in China to commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

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The concerts begin in Beijing on Dec. 3, and the closing concert is scheduled for Dec. 25 in the city of Changsha.

Donga's source also said a total of 80 band members will arrive in Beijing on Dec. 2, returning to Pyongyang on Dec. 27. A total of 10,000 people in China are expected to attend the concerts, the source said.

Xi is "highly likely" to attend the concert, the South Korean newspaper reported. Kim and Xi last met in June, during a summit in Pyongyang, Xi's first official visit to North Korea.

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The band is confirmed for a tour in China, but the details could change in the future, the Donga reported.

Tensions are rising again following North Korea's firing of two projectiles on Thursday.

The provocation is being condemned unanimously between South Korea's ruling and opposition parties, Yonhap reported.

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Lee Hae-sik of the ruling Democratic Party said North Korea appears to be mounting a pressure campaign against the United States ahead of a "year-end deadline."

Jun Hee-kyung of the Liberty Korea Party, the main opposition, said the tests show the true face of North Korea and cautioned President Moon Jae-in, according to the report.

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