16 pictures show North Korea's grand performance at the Mass Games, where South Korea's president gave his first speech directly to North Koreans

16 pictures show North Korea's grand performance at the Mass Games, where South Korea's president gave his first speech directly to North Koreans

빛나는 조국 north korea parade

Pyeongyang Press Corps/Reuters

South Korean President Moon Jae-in waves to the crowd as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 19, 2018.

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a group of South Korean delegates were given a viewing of North Korea's capstone propaganda event, the Mass Games.
  • This year's performance is called "Shining Fatherland," or "Glorious Country."
  • An estimated 150,000 North Koreans were estimated to be in the audience.
As part of his summit tour of North Korea this week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a group of delegates were given a viewing of the regime's Mass Games - a theatrical gymnastics performance described by some viewers as "the most spectacular artistic performance in human history."
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Moon, along with South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook and several senior South Korean officials, sat alongside North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, during an eye-catching performance that consisted of thousands of performers.
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Check out this year's performance known as "Shining Fatherland," and "Glorious Country."
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South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second to the left, South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, far left, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second to the right, and his wife Ri Sol Ju, far right, receive flowers before watching the performance.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second to the left, South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, far left, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second to the right, and his wife Ri Sol Ju, far right, receive flowers before watching the performance.

Source: 38 North

Around 150,000 people were estimated to be in the audience.

Around 150,000 people were estimated to be in the audience.

Source: Hankyoreh

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The entire performance lasted around an hour.

The entire performance lasted around an hour.

Source: Yonhap News

Thousands of performers, many of them children, hold up flip-cards to form a mosaic image that reads "We warmly welcome President Moon's visit to Pyongyang."

Thousands of performers, many of them children, hold up flip-cards to form a mosaic image that reads "We warmly welcome President Moon's visit to Pyongyang."
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Nearly 17,500 children were recruited to perform the choreographed card display. Many others took part in the acrobatic performances.

Nearly 17,500 children were recruited to perform the choreographed card display. Many others took part in the acrobatic performances.

Source: 38 North

Human-rights groups frequently criticize the performance because of its training routine.

Human-rights groups frequently criticize the performance because of its training routine.

While the spectacle of the performance has attracted tour groups, critics, including human-rights activists, have denounced the Mass Games for its strict training regimen.

"The strict training routine for the Mass Games ... is dangerous to children's health and well-being," a 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry report said.

Source: BBC

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The performances have traditionally focused around a central theme.

The performances have traditionally focused around a central theme.

"Glorious Country" took a step back from its previous performances and placed less emphasis on North Korea's military ambitions.

"Glorious Country" took a step back from its previous performances and placed less emphasis on North Korea's military ambitions.
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Instead of its usual antagonistic rhetoric, the show emphasized reformation and economic progress.

Instead of its usual antagonistic rhetoric, the show emphasized reformation and economic progress.

Source: 38 North

Anti-US slogans and images were also reportedly absent from the performance.

Anti-US slogans and images were also reportedly absent from the performance.

Source: Yonhap News

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Thousands of choreographed cards display a massive image of a train that says "Pyongyang — Pusan." Pusan is a coastal city in South Korea.

Thousands of choreographed cards display a massive image of a train that says "Pyongyang — Pusan." Pusan is a coastal city in South Korea.

During their summit, President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un proposed joint economic projects, including an inter-Korean railway.

Images of Kim Jong Un were reportedly scarce in the latest performance of "Glorious Country."

Images of Kim Jong Un were reportedly scarce in the latest performance of "Glorious Country."

North Korea traditionally displays oversized images of its leaders in parades and monuments. But images that deify Kim Jong Un have been less prominent compared to other North Korean leaders.

"Glorious Country" reportedly continued that trend, showing only one image of Kim Jong Un during the entire performance — a giant projection of him holding hands with Moon.

Source: 38 North

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A light display reads "A shining country."

A light display reads "A shining country."

Moon's appearance marked the first time a South Korean leader directly addressed the North Korean public at the Mass Games.

Moon's appearance marked the first time a South Korean leader directly addressed the North Korean public at the Mass Games.
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Performers position themselves to depict a unified Korean Peninsula.

Performers position themselves to depict a unified Korean Peninsula.

Moon delivered a seven-minute speech and proposed "that we should completely end the past 70 years of hostility and take a big stride of peace to become one again."

Moon delivered a seven-minute speech and proposed "that we should completely end the past 70 years of hostility and take a big stride of peace to become one again."

Source: BBC

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