Print Edition - 2017-08-13  |  Life & Style

K-pop concert seeking to broker Korean peace

- BBC, SEOUL

Aug 13, 2017-At a time when tensions are more heated than they have been in years, the border between the Koreas—one of the world’s most militarised—is about to be the scene of a pop concert.

Every year, South Korean pop stars perform right next to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which splits the Korean peninsula, in a “peace concert”. The concert itself is two-legged— the first and more popular one is a Korean pop (or K-pop) extravaganza, which is then followed by a classical music concert.

Though they are marketed as “DMZ Concerts”, they are obviously not held within the demilitarised zone, but at a tourist spot called Nuri Peace Park in the South Korean city of Paju, north of Seoul.

The free and public event is organised by South Korean broadcaster MBC, the Ministry of Unification —which promotes and prepares for potential future reunification of the Koreas—and local authorities. It will be broadcast later on national television.

This year’s K-pop concert is taglined “Again, Peace!” and will boast top acts like Girls Generation and BTOB. It is expected to draw thousands of fans. It’s in part a celebration of National Liberation Day, a public holiday in both Koreas and a potent symbol of their shared history.

The date the show will be broadcast on TV—15 August—marks the end of Japanese colonial rule on the Korean peninsula in 1945. The Korean War began a few years after that and ended in an armistice, so the two countries are still technically at war with each other.

The current series of concerts began in 2011, but back in 2000, the South tried to convince the North to hold a joint concert in Pyongyang as a cultural exchange. The plan fell through reportedly over a financial disagreement.

Published: 13-08-2017 08:21

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