Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the US State Department, according to its sources, may approve entry visas for members of the DPRK’s State Symphony Orchestra to give a concert, and a visit by senior MOFA officials (including Ri Gun and Kim Kye-gwan) to attend academic functions:
According to a source involved in the six-party talks, North Korea proposed a US performance by North Korea’s state orchestra through a private-sector cultural exchange organization in the United States to reciprocate the concert given by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Pyongyang in 2008. The US State Department is now considering the issuance of visas for the North Korean orchestra. Except for performances in Japan and South Korea, if the trip to the United States is realized, it will be the first performance by the North Korean orchestra in the free world.
Meanwhile, regarding the visit to the United States by senior North Korean Foreign Ministry officials, the above-mentioned US policy research institute is said to be making behind-the-scenes preparations to invite a delegation that will include Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-kwan and Ri Ku’n, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s American Affairs Bureau, to Washington and New York for lectures and other events the institute will host. It is likely that US and North Korean officials involved in the six-party talks would meet sometime during the North Korean delegation’s visit to the United States.