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Taekwondo for U.S., New York Philharmonic for N.Korea

Posted October. 08, 2007 07:45,   


The North Korean Taekwondo demonstration team visited the U.S. for the first time, and the New York Philharmonic is planning to hold a concert in Pyongyang. These exchanges are helping to thaw relations between the U.S. and North Korea.

The 18-member Taekwondo team led by Bae Neung Man, vice chairman of the Chosun Taekwondo Committee, flew into Los Angeles International Airport on October 4. This was first-ever tour in the United States for them.

The team is scheduled to demonstrate in five cities starting from Los Angeles on October 6, including San Francisco, while staying 13 nights in the U.S.

Jang Ung, the sole North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee, who is accompanying the team, said at the airport that, “Taekwondo is our own tradition such as Arirang, Korean noodles, and kimchi. We have been trying to perform in the U.S. for a long time, and now we can.”

To the question, “Do you think the exchanges of sports and culture will increase with the U.S.?” he responded, “I believe so because three boxers are scheduled to participate in the World Boxing Championships in Chicago this month, and United States Olympic Committee is also hoping to contact us.”

Meanwhile, a New York Philharmonic official said in a statement on October 4 that, “With the encouragement of the State Department, we are discussing a possible concert in Pyongyang.” Zarin Mehta, the orchestra’s president, will visit Pyongyang on October 6-8 with a preparation team to examine concert conditions. As officials will accompany the team from the State Department, the concert has a good chance of being performed.

According to a New York Philharmonic official, the orchestra got an invitation from North Korea`s Ministry of Culture in August and they will make a decision whether they will accept the invitation after consulting with the U.S. government.