This all-female North Korean rock band is giving “friendship performances” in China by Olivia Goldhill

An all-female North Korean rock group is touring China to smooth over tensions between the neighboring countries.

The Moranbong Band, whose members were reportedly handpicked by supreme leader Kim Jong Un back in 2012, will perform in Beijing from Dec. 12 to 14, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. North Korea’s State Merited Chorus will perform alongside.

These invitation-only “friendship performances” are intended to “contribute to deepening friendship and boosting the cultural and artistic exchanges between the peoples of the two countries,” according to CNN reports of North Korea’s state news agency KCNA.

China is North Korea’s most important ally, both financially and politically. So much trade passes through the Chinese city Dandong that it has been called North Korea’s “lifeline,” according to CNN. However, there has been friction across the border recently, as the North Korean military pursues nuclear weapon goals despite strong disapproval from Beijing.

Kim Jong Un may hope that the Moranbong Band will help defuse these serious issues, but it’s hard to imagine that a hit single like Our Dear Leader!” can create many new fans outside North Korea.

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