Red Velvet's Joy will not travel to Pyongyang

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The 120-member group, including K-pop singers, are giving a concert on April 1 and another on April 3.

North Korea's culture minister Pak Chun-nam and Hyon Song-wol, head of the North's all-female Moranbong Band, greeted them at the airport, according to a pool report.

North Koreans give a warm weclome as Red Velvet members arrive at the Pyongyang International Airport, Saturday.

Kim also showed "great interest in the songs and lyrics (of South Korean singers) during the concert", Do Jong-hwan, Seoul's culture chief and the head of the delegation, told reporters.

The girl group is one of a handful of K-pop and K-rock acts set to perform in the demilitarized zone in Pyongyang just weeks following the 2018 Olympics, which were held in PyeongChang and saw participation from North Korean athletes.

A 70-member technical crew flew into the North on Thursday to prepare the stages ahead of the two concerts in Pyongyang. A Seoul television channel, MBC, reported that North Korean officials had rejected Psy from the concert lineup.

Seohyun of Girls' Generation, who made a surprise collaboration with North Korean artists when the North's art troupe performed in Seoul last month, was expected to host the Pyongyang concerts.

Despite the North's isolation and strict curbs on unauthorised foreign culture, enforced with prison terms, K-pop and South Korean TV shows have become increasingly popular there thanks to flash drives smuggled across the border with China.

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Before Sunday's performance, South Korea last sent a pop singer to North Korea in 2005.

K-pop legend Cho said: "I will comfortably perform in the North as I do here".

The same South Korean singers will hold a joint concert with North Korean performers on Tuesday at the Ryukyung Chung Ju Yung Gymnasium, a joint project between the North and South named after Hyundai Group billionaire founder Chung Ju-yung who had long advocated inter-Korean cultural and economic exchange.

Members of K-pop girlband "Red Velvet" pose for a photo after a rehearsal for a rare concert at the 1,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theatre in Pyongyang, yesterday.

Kim shook hands and took photos with the stars backstage, saying inter-Korean cultural events should be held more often and suggesting another event in the South Korean capital this autumn, pool reports said.

Among the 120-strong delegates were former Girls' Generation member Seohyun, Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee, Choi Jin-hee, Yoon Do-hyun, Baek Ji-young, Jungin, Seohyun, Ali, Kang San-eh, Kim Kwang-min and Red Velvet's Irene, Seulgi, Yeri and Wendy - who are without Joy, who now stars on the MBC drama Tempted.

Red Velvet will be performing their hit songs "Red Flavor" and "Bad Boy". The schedule for the concert in Pyongyang, however, isn't very short.

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