Celebrities who accompanied South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his three-day visit to North Korea were back in Seoul on Thursday night.
While a recent survey marked the visit as mostly successful, the question lingers over why Zico, Ailee, Ali, Kim Hyeong-seok and magician Choe Hyeon-u, among others, were not given the live TV treatment like their predecessors.
Ali arrives in Seoul after her visit to Pyongyang on Thursday night. (Yonhap)
In a tweet Thursday night, Kim thanked everyone involved in the trip including, President Moon and fellow artists.
“It was an emotional schedule of events as I watched the ‘Glorious Country’ performance with 150,000 people and climbed Paektusan with our hands held together, where we all reaffirmed our will to denuclearize and reunify.”
Kim said he was choked up with emotion when everyone from both sides shouted “we are one.”
While the trip appeared to have been a great experience for him, pictures taken by the South Korean Joint Press Corps drew a stark contrast from what was televised.
Producer Kim Hyeong-seok performs with Ali at Samjiyon guesthouse Thursday. (Joint Press Corps)
In the pictures, Kim played the piano while Ali sang at the Samjiyon guesthouse in a room with just a few tables.
The performance, video of which has not been shared as of yet, is far apart from the April 2018 inter-Korean summit. During the previous summit, a televised performance of a celebrity troupe led by singer-songwriter Yoon Sang and featuring pop heavyweights Cho Yong-pil and Red Velvet was a great ratings success at home.
(Footage from Pyeongyang Press Corps, edited by Park Ju-young / The Korea Herald)
The public was able to get a rare glimpse of the performance by the K-pop stars, however, when Ali, who joined the group last-minute, belted out Korean folk song “Jindo Arirang” on top of Paektusan as Moon, his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un and their wives watched.
Multiple reports have confirmed the artists, including Zico, Aliee and Choi, performed during a dinner banquet Tuesday night, the first day of the three-day summit.
Speaking to Yonhap News Agency, Zico said he had to translate some of his impromptu English lines like “Put Your Hands Up” to Korean, but noted the audience extended a warm reception.
Zico was back in Seoul on Thursday night after his stay in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)
During the event, Ailee sang “I Will Go to You Like the First Snow” off the soundtrack of hit TV series “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.”
The singer said she will participate again if another chance comes along in the future, in a statement through her agency YMC Entertainment.
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