Band favored by North Korean leader cancels Beijing concerts

BEIJING: An all-female band formed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has cancelled its concerts in Beijing and abruptly left the Chinese capital for unknown reasons.

The Moranbong Band had been scheduled to hold three concerts in Beijing beginning Saturday night. Band members were seen arriving in vehicles at the city's airport on Saturday afternoon. A staff member at the National Theater, where they were to perform, said the concerts had been cancelled, with no reason given.

The band was to give invitation-only performances on what was viewed as a visit to cultivate ties between the traditional allies. Relations between North Korea and China have been noticeably less warm since Kim assumed power in 2011.

An accompanying North Korean musical troupe, the State Merited Chorus, also canceled its Beijing performances.