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[Video] North Korea's Spice Girls Didn't Perform in China After All

Chinese music lovers were hanging their heads in sorrow earlier this month, as the Beijing debut of North Korea's Spice Girls – a girl group better known as Moranbong – was canceled.

According to VnExpress, the momentous cultural exchange between North Korea and China, its strongest ally, took a turn for the worse when the 20-strong all-female band abruptly left the country, putting an end to the concert just hours before it began. Performances were scheduled for December 12-14.

South Korean news outlet Yonhap speculated the cancelation was a result of Moranbong's audience, which North Korea had hoped would include a high-level government official. The reclusive country had apparently demanded the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, so when a delegation of low-level politicians turned up to witness the musical excellence of Moranbong, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was less than pleased.

While China remains an ally to North Korea, the two countries have occasionally been at odds in recent years, as the latter continues to perform nuclear tests against the wishes of its large western neighbor.

Founded in 2012, Moranbong is named after the district in Pyongyang which houses the Chinese embassy as well as the sacred space where the original Great Leader, Kim Il Sung, gave his first speech after gaining control of the city. The wildly popular band was the idea of leader Kim Jong-un himself, who has been forcing North Koreans to love their music ever since.

Moranbong's rise to fame has shown a different and, um, 'modern' side of the country, as Kim Jong-un attempts to update the older stance of his predecessors. Of course, the band performs a canon of propaganda songs praising the Great Leader, but Moranbong has also been known to slay international hits like Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' and the theme from Rocky.

Beyond musical selection, Moranbong also ranks among the trendiest of North Korean performers, sporting matching military garb, prom dresses or skirts that stop – wait for it – above the knee. Judging by the stone-faced crowd of middle-aged men in the audience clapping in unison to the band's hits, they're nothing short of superstars.

For a brief period from 2013-2014, the band was thought to have broken up, as its frontwoman, Hyon Song-wol, mysteriously disappeared. It was believed she had been executed by firing squad for alleged pornography. As it turns out, the old death-on-account-of-pornography tale was just a rumor: she's alive and well, churning out catchy pop music alongside her bandmates.

[Photo via YouTube]


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