PYONGYANG , North Korea, Moranbong, a female quintet of North Korean singers mixing propaganda and pop spectacle, will begin a tour of China as North Korea attempts to mend diplomatic fences.
The ensemble is modeled after Western pop groups — Britain’s Spice Girls may be the best example — and each singer was reputedly chosen by North Korean leaderKim Jong Un.
Their six-day tour of China, beginning this week, was reported by North Korean state media as “friendship performances.” Observers suggest the “dance hall diplomacy” comes at a time when North Korea needs Chinese support in global diplomacy.
Relations between the two countries have been strained since Kim ascended to power in 2011, and this week the United Nations Security Council will address alleged human rights violations in North Korea. A U.N. vote could refer Kim to the International Criminal Court, and China, with its veto power in the Security Council, could stop the move.
Despite the opposition of China, North Korea went ahead with ballistic missile tests in 2012 and an underground nuclear test in 2013. China has also revealed its frustration with North Korea’s reluctance to return to negotiations over its nuclear program; China has also dealt with a flow of refugees from North Korea.
The arrival of Moranbong, whose works of pop culture include “The Silk Weaving Girl of Nyongbyon,” “Fluttering Red Flag” and “We Can’t live Without His Care,” the last a reference to Kim, signal an attempt by North Korea at soft diplomacy to rebuild bridges with China.
By Ed Adamczyk