North Korea's Moranbong Band abruptly returned to Pyongyang ahead of its scheduled performance in China, Kyodo News Agency reported, Saturday.
The girl band, handpicked by state leader Kim Jong-un in 2012, was to perform along with another North Korean band at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing from Saturday to Monday. The musicians were invited to Beijing by the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Chinese media reports, the band was seen at the Beijing Capital International Airport with North Korean Ambassador to China Ji Jae-Ryong boarding a plan for North Korea in the afternoon. The band members were dressed in military uniforms when they left, as they had been when they arrived in Beijing.
It is unclear why the band headed back to Pyongyang.
The band's scheduled performance had been seen as a possible sign of paving the way for Kim's first visit to Pyongyang's biggest ally.