Watch Out! Here Comes the Buk Hallyu!?
Maybe calling it the “North Korean Wave” is a bit premature, but the Joongang Ilbo reports North Korea is expanding its opportunities for cultural contact with the outside world. In addition to the upcoming performance of the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang, North Korea’s State Symphony Orchestra is set to play in London in September. Meanwhile, an inter-Korean film festival in San Diego featured five North Korean films and the movie “Schoolgirl’s Diary” became the first movie produced north of the DMZ to enter into commercial distribution. Christopher Hill sees these steps as a sign of greater openness:
“We haven’t even had ping-pong diplomacy with these people,” he said. “It would signal that North Korea is beginning to come out of its shell, which everyone understands is a long-term process. It does represent a shift in how they view us.” Hill expressed hope that the cultural exchange will help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.
However, Joongang Ilbo notes:
Others, however, caution against expecting too much, citing the communist nation’s track record of using arts for propaganda.