North Korean leader Kim Jong Un clapped his hands as he, along with his wife and hundreds of other citizens, watched a rare performance Sunday by South Korean pop stars visiting Pyongyang, highlighting the thawing ties between the rivals after years of heightened tensions over the North's nuclear program.During Sunday's performance at the packed East Pyongyang Grand Theater, Kim made a surprise visit with his wife Ri Sol Ju, sister Kim Yo Jong and other senior North Korean officials including nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam. Kim applauded during the event and shook hands with South Korean performers, even taking a group photo with them after their performance, according to South Korean media pool reports from Pyongyang.
Short pool TV footage also showed Kim, clad in a dark Mao-style suit, clapping from the second-floor VIP stand as South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan bowed and greeted North Korean spectators looking on from the first floor.
"We should hold culture and art performances frequently," Kim told South Korean performers. Mentioning the performance's title "Spring comes," Kim also asked the performers to tell South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the two Koreas should hold a similar event in Seoul in the autumn, the pool reports said citing an unidentified South Korean performer.
It was the first time for a North Korean leader to attend such a South Korean performance. Before Sunday's performance, South Korea last sent a pop singer to North Korea in 2005.
Kim is to meet Moon at a border village on April 27 and President Donald Trump in May in separate summit talks.
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