02/25/2008, 00.00
NORTH KOREA
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The New York Philharmonic arrives in Pyongyang, anti US posters disappear

The orchestra, directed by Lorin Maazel, will perform two concerts beneath the US and North Korean flags. Kim Jong-il along with, according to some, Condoleezza Rice will attend one of the concerts. In Seoul stalwart conservative Lee Myung-bak, takes office.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – New York’s Philharmonic Orchestra has arrived in Pyongyang to perform the first concert ever by an American company, but the music is composed Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-and is close the hearts of North Koreans.  This is the content of an article which appeared this morning on the Korean Central News Agency, the Stalinist regimes official press agency.

The report praises the initiative taken by the Orchestra, financed by a wealthy Japanese woman who lives in Italy, but underlines that “Gershwin and Dvorak [composers whose music is due to be preformed according to the program ed] cannot possibly compete with pieces such as ‘Defending the Homeland’, sung by soldiers during the 1950 civil war”.

This notwithstanding, the North Korean propaganda machine has ordered that all posters that may “offend the American imperialists” be removed from the streets of the capital.   Zarin Mehta, the Orchestra’s executive director, also confirms that during the concert the flags of Washington and Pyongyang will fly “side by side”.

The concerts will be preformed tomorrow in Pyongyang’s Grand Theatre and the day after in Moranbong. There the Philharmonic will be joined by the North Korean State orchestra under the direction of maestro Lorin Maazel. According to South Korean press, Kim Jong-il and, even if a remote hypothesis, US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will be present at this second performance.

According to analysts this new opening up of the regime comes in response to the official installation of the new South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, today in Seoul. Lee, the first conservative president in 10 years, has repeatedly said he has no intention of “blindly cooperating” with Pyongyang.

 

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