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North invites the New York Philharmonic

Aug 16,2007
It’s up to the New York Philharmonic orchestra to decide whether it will accept an invitation to perform in North Korea, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Tuesday.
“We’ll consider it,” Eric Latzky, the orchestra’s director of public relations, told Agence France Press. “We received an invitation to perform in Pyongyang through an independent representative on behalf of the ministry of culture of North Korea.”
Latzky said the request, which had just been received, was “unusual” and that the orchestra would consult with Washington before making any decision. Furthermore, Latzky said, any such visit would come as part of a tour in the region.
The Philharmonic is scheduled to play in China in February 2008.
When asked whether such a visit was feasible, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, “I think it’d be fully up to them whether or not they accept such an invitation. As for the details of being able to go there and whether there’s any compensation, that sort of thing, those are probably technical details.”
Financial sanctions and restrictions regarding arms, missile and nuclear technology are in place under a United Nations resolution adopted last year in the aftermath of a nuclear test by the North, but there are no restrictions on travel to the North by ordinary U.S. citizens.
But despite the symbolic meaning the orchestra’s visit could have, McCormack said he suspected it would only play for Pyongyang’s elite. “Whether or not your average North Korean gets an invitation if the New York Philharmonic’s in Pyongyang, I have my doubts about that.”


by Brian Lee Staff Writerafricanu@joongang.co.kr



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