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North Korea philharmonic may play U.S.

June 21,2008
Washington is mulling a plan to let North Korea’s national philharmonic orchestra hold a concert in the United States in return for the New York Philharmonic’s historic February concert in Pyongyang, according to Lee Yong-jin, a senior official of the National Unification Advisory Council.

Lee, who heads the Washington unit of the state-run South Korean agency that promotes inter-Korean reconciliation projects, has been leading efforts to arrange the concert. The North Korean mission to the United Nations gave the council the nod to go forward with the planning earlier this year.

“The U.S. State Department said they would first have to have a discussion within the department and let us know the result later,” Lee said in an interview with Radio Free Asia, a U.S government-funded news radio station in Washington. “They said if holding the concert in Washington is impossible, they may consider holding the event in nearby areas like Richmond or Baltimore.”

If Washington approves the project, the North Korean philharmonic is likely to visit the United States after a European tour in September.

The New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S., had a landmark concert in North Korea on Feb. 26.


By Jung Ha-won Staff Reporter [hawon@joongang.co.kr]



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