North Korea girl band concert canceled over 'anti-American lyrics': source

Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:01am EST
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By Benjamin Kang Lim and Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - A North Korean all-female pop group canceled their Beijing concert last week when Chinese authorities objected to "anti-American" lyrics in the show, a source with ties to North Korea and China told Reuters on Friday.

The Moranbong Band was visiting China along with North Korea's State Merited Chorus and was due to perform at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts on Dec. 12.

Chinese censors did not approve of a line which referred to the United States an "ambitious wolf", and lyrics which glorified the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the source.

"China did not ask that the lyrics be changed but it did not pass screening by censors," said the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject.

"China was of the view that the lyrics would unnecessarily provoke the U.S.".

China has tried to act as an honest broker between the United States and North Korea and has repeatedly attempted to get the rivals to cool their rhetoric as it seeks to promote harmony in the region.

The Moranbong Band is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's pet project as he tries to put his personal stamp on North Korean arts, and the short haircuts of the group's young women members are trend-setting in the capital, Pyongyang.

The ensemble, whose members were reportedly handpicked by Kim, was formed in 2012, and the China show was to be their first overseas.   Continued...

Members of the Moranbong Band of North Korea arrive at Beijing International Airport before departing from Beijing, China in this photo taken by Kyodo December 12, 2015. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo