By Sohn JiAe
Photos = Cheong Wa Dae
President Moon Jae-in met with a South Korean art troupe that performed in Pyeongyang last month and said that, “You guys have opened the door wide for inter-Korean exchanges. I will do my best to keep the door open so that the resumed exchanges between the flow of cultural exchanges will continue to go on,” at Cheong Wa Dae on May 11.
This remark came during a lunch at Cheong Wa Dae to which President Moon invited the singers and performers. Those in attendance included composer Yoon Sang, who directed the series of Pyeongyang performances, as well as singers Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee and Baek Ji-young. There was also pianist Jung Jae Il, traditional haegeum player Kang Eun-il, guitarist Lee Byung-woo and the young singing sensation Oh Yeon Joon.
“We all watched South Korean singers sing North Korean songs, and vice versa. They also sang together, hand-in-hand, making such beautiful harmony,” President Moon said. "This sight kept reminding me of this: We are one for sure, but why are we still divided and why are we still going against each other?”
"As I saw South and North Korean art groups visit other countries and perform and, also, the inter-Korean women’s ice hockey team playing as one team during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, I realized how amazing the power of culture, arts and sports can be," the president said. “These inter-Korean exchanges that have sprung up across culture and the arts will lead to economic cooperation in the end,” he said.
The president assured the visitors that, if currently a divided country, the two Koreas would be united as one ultimately, and vowed that his administration would push the goal through at full speed until it is materialized.
Singer Lee Sun-hee, who performed in Pyeongyang for the second time, said, “It was totally different from the first concert. If the two Koreas come closer, step-by-step, this sentiment we all felt in last month’s performance, I’m sure that these efforts would be able to come to much larger fruition.”
“I could feel a sense of patriotism filling the concert hall. It’s not felt only by me. Everyone in the house felt it. It was really touching,” she added.
Meanwhile, director Yoon Sang said that, “A day will come soon when we can freely sing North Korean songs to the North Korean people.”