Pyongyang Residents Ambivalent About Preformance
With just hours to go before the first notes are played, Pyongyang residents are having mixed feelings about the New York Philharmonic’s unprecedented performance, reports the DailyNK. On one hand, residents are excited about the prospect of an American orchestra coming to town and the international recognition they are getting. On the other hand, they are worried about a post- performance crackdown to prevent people from “fantasizing about America,” as one resident put it. A North Korean student interviewed in Dandong, China attributed the concert to North Korea’s new strength as a nuclear power:
“As North Korea advances to become a powerful country, thanks to the development of nuclear weapons, American is not trying to occupy, but to be friendly with our republic,” explained Han, who believed that such a visit would not have occurred had it not been for Pyongyang’s nuclear stockpile.
Another student, also in Dandong regrets not being able to be home to partake in the festivities:
“I am really interested in music. If I had stayed in Pyongyang a few days longer, I would have participated in the performance,” lamented Jeong. “After my friends watch it, I know they will not stop boasting about the experience.”
Other residents fear a crackdown after the event to ensure that no outside influences corrupt the people. In October, following the inter-Korean summit, a on market activites and, in particular, South Korean goods was widely reported. According to one Sinuiju resident:
“An American orchestra performing in Pyongyang is indeed shocking, but most people are more concerned about what will happen after the orchestra leaves town.”