What was meant to be a soft-power push by North Korea in Beijing was not meant to be. Members of the DPRK pop sensation Moranbong Band have been seen flying out of the Beijing Capital International Airport with few personal artifacts and dressed in military uniform around 1pm on Saturday afternoon, under the watchful eye of heavy security, after the abrupt cancellation of their performances.
North Korea’s Ambassador to China Ji Jae-Ryong was seen flying together with band members on board the Pyongyang-bound Air Koryo plane which departed at 4.07pm after a 3-hour delay.
Members of the Korean People’s Army State Merited Chorus, which was scheduled to perform together with the Moranbong Band, were not seen at the airport.
A terse notice posted on the website of the National Center for the Performing Arts detailed no reason for the sudden cancellation of the event.
However, according to one reporter from the Beijing Daily, Chinese authorities had made the request to change one line of lyric in a song in the line-up. This was vehemently refused by the North Koreans, and everything went downhill from there.
The band was scheduled to be performing at the Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts in invitation-only concerts from December 12 to 14, and plans were reportedly made to extend the run from 3 to 5 days.
Insiders at the Giant Egg, as the theater is colloquially referred to, say stage setup for the Moranbong concerts has already been demolished.
For now, fortunately, we’re all still able to enjoy the band’s music videos on Youku, so we’ll leave you with our favorite Moranbong song, Let’s Study.