NY Philharmonic concert to be broadcast across North Korea

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The Independent US

A concert by the New York Philharmonic in North Korea next week will be broadcast throughout the reclusive Communist state.

The concert, to be held in Pyongyang on 26 February, will be the centrepiece of a two-day visit and broadcast live by Korean Central Television, the orchestra said. It will also be broadcast internationally. "A wide distribution of the concert within the country has been a central element of our agreement to perform in Pyongyang from the start," said Zarin Mehta, president and executive director of the orchestra.

The concert will include George Gershwin's An American in Paris and Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 "From The New World". Both the US and North Korean national anthems will be played by the orchestra.

The US and North Korea are formally in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armed truce that has not been replaced by a peace agreement. But they are engaged in a diplomatic process that could lead to the normalisation of ties. After years of talks, North Korea, which tested a nuclear device last year, agreed in February to disable its nuclear facilities in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives.

But the deal stalled after Pyongyang said it wanted more energy aid and diplomatic concessions before it fulfils its pledge to fully disable its Yongbyon nuclear site and declare all nuclear activities. Envoys from both countries met in Beijing yesterday in a bid to move the agreement forward.