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North Korean taekwondo masters to perform in U.S.

A group of 17 North Korean taekwondo performers will visit the United States from late next month through early June to present the Korean traditional martial art to an American audience, according to the Voice of America, a U.S.-funded radio broadcaster.

It will be their second performance in the U.S. following one in 2007.

According to the Taekwondo Times, an online media outlet, the U.S. Department of State has already notified the North Korean group that their visas have been issued, the VOA said.

The group, which will be led by vice chief of the communist state’s taekwondo committee Bae Neung-man, will tour six major U.S. cities including New York and Boston to perform and teach the martial art.

Eleven of the 17 performers, including Bae, are among those who visited the U.S. in 2007, the VOA said. In 2007, the North Korean martial artists toured five cities in the U.S. and staged a variety of performances. One performance in Los Angeles was broadcast by CBS.

The VOA also said that the North has invited some American taekwondo masters to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, to participate in the World Taekwondo Championships slated for September.

By Song Sang-ho (