SEOUL – More than 140,000 people have already registered for the 1,060 free tickets to two performances by a North Korean orchestra during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which will begin in South Korea next week, local news agency Yonhap reported.
North Korea will be sending its Samjiyon Orchestra to the South for a concert in Gangneung, a sub-host city of the Winter Olympics, and another one in Seoul.
Until 9:00 am Saturday, 35,653 people had already registered for the ticket lottery to watch the first concert on Feb. 8 – the eve of the inauguration of the Games – according to Interpark, the company that is managing the distribution of tickets.
Samjiyon’s second performance on Feb. 11 at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul has got 106,576 registrations so far.
Interpark will give two free tickets each to 280 people for the Gangneung concert and to 250 for the one in Seoul, and the list of winners will be announced on Tuesday.
The performances by the 140-member group, which will arrive in the country on Monday, have created a huge buzz in South Korea.
Samjiyon is led by singer Hyon Song-wol, who also leads the Moranbong Band, commonly referred to as North Korea Spice Girls.
A visit by the orchestra was one of the agreements reached by Seoul and Pyongyang in joint talks held in January, the first in more than two years, when they also agreed to march under a unified flag at the inauguration of the forthcoming Games, the first instance of the two countries doing so at an Olympics since 2006.
Apart from the free tickets, the company will also invite to the concerts around 1,100 underprivileged people and families, who have been either displaced or separated by the Korean War in the 1950s.
The two Koreas still remain technically at war as the armistice that ended hostilities in 1953 was never replaced with a peace treaty.