First ladies of Koreas visit children’s hospital, music college in Pyongyang

September 18, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) — The first ladies of the two Koreas visited a children’s hospital and a music college in downtown Pyongyang together on Tuesday while their husbands sat down for a historic summit.

Kim Jung-sook, wife of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Ri Sol-ju, wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, started their time together at Okryu Children’s Hospital, the largest general hospital for children in North Korea.

They looked around CT and X-ray scan rooms and watched a physical education class for children at the hospital.

The hospital is a new facility constructed in October 2013 on Kim’s instruction. Some 180 doctors are reportedly working in the six-story hospital building.

After the visit, the wives visited the Kim Won-gyun Conservatory, the country’s top music college. They attended an orchestra performance after meeting the college’s principal and observing a class.

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“Kim and Ri have a common background in that they both studied music,” Yoon Young-chan, the senior secretary to President Moon for public relations, told reporters during a press briefing earlier in the day at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul.

Kim worked for the Seoul Metropolitan Chorus after majoring in vocal performance at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, while Ri was a vocalist of the North’s famous Unhasu Orchestra before she married the Pyongyang leader.

Named after Kim Won-gyun, a famous North Korean composer who hailed from the Taedonggang district of the city where the school is situated, the university is the North’s most prestigious university for cultivating musical talent. Most of the country’s celebrated musicians and winners of international competitions are graduates of the school.

During the visit to the college, they were accompanied by South Korea’s composer-producer Kim Hyung-suk and singers Ailee and Block B’s Zico.

On Wednesday, Kim will visit the Mangyongdae School Children’s Palace, an after-school educational facility for young talent in the fields of art, music and sports. Its students often perform before foreign reporters and guests to show off their talents in singing, dancing, calligraphy and musical instruments. It remains unknown whether Ri will accompany Kim during the second-day trip.

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