K-pop girl band Red Velvet has a new superfan - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who apparently adjusted his schedule to watch them perform in Pyongyang and singled them out for praise.
Kim attended a special concert by popular South Korean music stars in Pyongyang as part of an attempt to improve diplomatic times between the North and South.
Kim plans to hold a rare summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has tried to restore friendly relations with North Korea to prevent war over the regime’s nuclear weapons programme.
Kim’s surprise appearance Sunday also came as he prepared for a historic potential meeting with US President Donald Trump next month.
But it was the stars of Red Velvet, who sang their hits Bad Boy and Red Flavour, who caught his eye.
“There had been interest in whether I would come and see Red Velvet. I had initially planned to attend a performance the day after tomorrow but I came here today after adjusting my schedule,” Kim was quoted as saying.
“I thank you for this kind of gift to Pyongyang citizens.”
The North Korean leader’s face was slightly red in a group photograph with the performers distributed by North Korean state media.
Kim and wife Ri Sol-ju, a former singer herself, were seen clapping their hands during the two-hour event.
Red Velvet are known for their signature K-pop mix of upbeat electronic music, stylish fashion and high-voltage choreography.
“The North’s audience applauded to our performance much louder than we expected and even sang along to our songs … it was a big relief,” band member Yeri said.
Another member, Seulgi, appeared red-eyed as she bid farewell to the audience at the end of the concert, apparently overcome with emotion.
The concert came a week after Kim shook up the Asian diplomatic landscape with an unexpected trip to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing – his first overseas trip since taking power in 2011.
The planned inter-Korean summit with Moon on April 27 is expected to pave the way for a similar meeting with Trump, who wants Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons.