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New York Philharmonic's 'sing song diplomacy' in North Korea

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David Guttenfelder/AP

(Read caption) Diplomacy? The New York Philharmonic posed for photos at the airport after arriving in Pyongyang, North Korea. The 130- member orchestra will perform before an audience of high-ranking North Korean officials on Tuesday night.

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The New York Philharmonic Orchestra has arrived in North Korea ahead of a controversial performance in Pyongyang, which is being compared by some to the "ping pong diplomacy" that preceded US President Richard Nixon's landmark trip to the People's Republic of China in 1972.

The trip comes as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tours the Far East urging regional leaders to pressure North Korea to fulfil its promise to reveal all its nuclear activities. She will not travel to North Korea.

The orchestra's trip has proved controversial. Some say it's an exercise in diplomacy; others say it will do little to change the behavior of a repressive regime, which has remained evasive about its development of nuclear weapons.

The trip has been slammed "a disgrace" by the New York Post. But North Korea has welcomed the orchestra as "a clashing cymbal of détente," cautioning that "we trust that your second violins are not disguised fifth column," according to The Times of London.


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