Pyongyang Pops: the Philharmonic Goes to Korea

Officials from the New York Philharmonic are in North Korea, exploring the possibility of a historic concert there. The unexpected invitation came in August during six-nation talks to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program.

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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

This ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Andrea Seabrook.

Henry David Thoreau famously observed that in a world of peace and love, the universal language would be music.

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SEABROOK: Maybe, just maybe that's the idea behind a cultural exchange now being negotiated between the United States and North Korea.

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SEABROOK: Officials from the New York Philharmonic are in Pyongyang discussing a possible concert there, the first ever by the world-renowned orchestra. The idea for this cultural exchange came from, Christopher Hill, the U.S. diplomat at the talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

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SEABROOK: Ambassador Hill's North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan responded positively and said he's government would like to invite the New York Orchestra.

Last week, Ambassador Hill announced what appeared to be a breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear talks. North Korea had agreed to dismantle its nuclear facilities.

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SEABROOK: Zarin Mehta, the New York Philharmonic's president told the New York Times that if a concert in Pyongyang could further improve relations that would be a wonderful thing.

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