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New York Philharmonic to play in North Korea

By Mike Simmons     Dec 10, 2007 in Politics
While US diplomacy may be unable to soothe the savage beast of North Korean foreign policy, the music of the New York Philharmonic could provide a kind of balm that politicians cannot.
The Times reports that the Philharmonic has agreed to a concert engagement in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang this February. An invitation was sent from the North Korean ministry of culture. This would be the first American cultural visit to the isolationist country.
The offer of cultural exchange sets a different tone from the diplomatic disagreements between North Korea and the United States over the former's nuclear program. Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Worker's Party and most widely read newspaper in North Korea, condemned Western-style democracy as a sham that "allows a handful of the privileged to exploit and dominate popular masses."
US President Bush has repeatedly urged the government of North Korea to abandon their nuclear program, most recently in a letter delivered by hand from a US ambassador.
The State Department has what they believe to be strong evidence pointing to the construction of a gas centrifuge program by North Korean scientists, said Ambassador Christopher R. Hill. Hill is a representative of the US State Department who has been liasing with North Korean officials in an American effort to oversee the disabling of North Korean nuclear reactors.
State Department officials said that the invitation for the New York Philharmonic to play on North Korean soil could represent a change in the tune of anti-American rhetoric played by Kim Jong-Il's government. The Philharmonic is the oldest orchestra in the United States, and the third oldest in the world.
More about New york, Orchestra, North korea
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