N.Y. orchestra helps forge relations with North Korea

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lorin Maazel conducted the orchestra.

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra has performed a concert in Pyongyang, North Korea in an effort to improve relations between the communist country and the Western world. At the same time, an anonymous North Korean official revealed that Eric Clapton has been invited to play Pyongyang in 2009.

The orchestra played in East Pyongyang Grand Theatre, with the entire concert broadcast on state television.

Diplomatic tensions remain high, as the U.S. tries to broker a deal with North Korea on the issue of nuclear disarmament, an issue which U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brought up in her recent visit to China. She has urged China to pressure North Korea into disclosing further details on their controversial nuclear programme, in order to aid further discussions on the debate of the country's disarmament.

The North Korean government allowed unprecedented access to the country for more than 300 people and almost completely unrestricted internet and international telephone calls were allowed, something which is usually highly restricted.