Maestro meets N. Koreans to discuss joint performance
A renowned South orean conductor met with North Korean musicians earlier this week to discuss staging a joint performance of orchestras of the two Koreas in Pyongyang, officials said Monday.
"Chung Myung-whun, who leads the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, had consultations with North Korean officials in Beijing on Sunday," an official at Seoul's Unification Ministry said.
An official with the Seoul metropolitan orchestra also confirmed the news.
"We understand Chung met with officials of North's Korean music research institute to follow up to opinions exchanged during his visit to Pyongyang in September," the official said.
The joint concert, if realized, would be the first joint orchestra performance between the two Koreas in a decade.
On Wednesday, Chung said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency that there will be good news regarding the performance, raising prospects for the historic event.
The two Koreas' philharmonic orchestras held a joint concert in Seoul in August 2000, two months after a landmark summit between their leaders. In 2002, the two Koreas again held another joint concert in Pyongyang.
In September, Chung, who also doubles as a UNICEF "goodwill ambassador," traveled to the North, where he agreed with North Korean musicians to push for regular performances of a joint symphony orchestra of the two countries.
The joint performance could help ease lingering tensions between the two Koreas over the North's two deadly attacks on the South in 2010.
The North recently urged South Korea to offer an apology over its response to the December death of former leader Kim Jong-il as a key condition for resuming stalled bilateral talks.
South Korea expressed sympathy to the people of North Korea over Kim's death, but did not send an official mourning delegation to Pyongyang. Seoul only approved a condolence trip by private delegations.
The South has expressed regret over what it sees is the North's latest propaganda campaign.
South Korea has proposed holding two separate meetings with North Korea to discuss reunions of family members and joint pest control near ancient tombs in the isolated country, which the North rejected. (Yonhap)