North Korea to halt Mass Games after Kim's ire: Tour firms

The "Mass Games", featuring a massive number of people performing synchronised moves, at the May Day Stadium on Tuesday. It is not known what raised Mr Kim Jong Un's ire but some observers noted that his portrait was used as a backdrop image, along w
The "Mass Games", featuring a massive number of people performing synchronised moves, at the May Day Stadium on Tuesday. It is not known what raised Mr Kim Jong Un's ire but some observers noted that his portrait was used as a backdrop image, along with pictures of his grandfather and father. It is rare for Mr Kim's portraits to be shown publicly. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/ KORYO TOURS

SEOUL • North Korea will temporarily suspend its spectacular "Mass Games" propaganda displays from next week, travel agencies said yesterday, after leader Kim Jong Un censured the show's content.

This year's show, titled The Land of the People, had its premiere on Monday and was expected to run until October.

But Mr Kim "seriously criticised" the performance creators for "their wrong spirit of creation and irresponsible work attitude", the official KCNA news agency reported.

Travel agencies operating tours to the isolated North have since been told that the displays would be "temporarily halted".

Koryo Tours was told that from next Monday "the Mass Games will be paused while some adjustments and alterations take place", general manager Simon Cockerell told Agence France-Presse.

No timescale for a resumption had been given, he added.

The "Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance" features a massive number of people - mostly students and children - performing synchronised moves.

 
 

Behind them, thousands of others turn the coloured pages of books in sequence to create an ever-changing backdrop of giant images rippling across one side of the stadium.

Photographs from the opening night at the cavernous May Day Stadium showed flag-waving and hoop-throwing performers packed around giant flowers on the arena floor. Mr Kim attended the performance with his wife Ri Sol Ju, state television showed.

It is not known what raised Mr Kim's ire but some observers noted that his portrait was used as a backdrop image, along with pictures of his grandfather and father, the North's founder Kim Il Sung and his successor Kim Jong Il.

It is rare for portraits of Mr Kim Jong Un to be shown publicly and no statues of him are known to exist.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'N. Korea to halt Mass Games after Kim's ire: Tour firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe