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Impact of Philharmonic Concert in North Korea in Dispute

The United States' oldest symphony orchestra has performed in North Korea in what one former U.S. official is calling a historic moment for Washington and Pyongyang.

The White House, however, is playing down Tuesday's event, calling it "just another concert."

The performance by the New York Philharmonic to a packed crowd at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater opened with the national anthems of North Korea and the United States.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry was in the audience, and said he hoped the concert would push Washington and Pyongyang "over the top" and pave the way for better ties.

But in Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the concert was unlikely to change the behavior of the North Korean government. She urged Pyongyang to do more to declare all of its nuclear activities.

She also said that any future engagements would depend on whether North Korea meets its nuclear obligations in the six-party talks.

The 106-member orchestra was greeted with applause from the well-dressed audience and given a standing ovation at the end of its 90-minute concert. North Korean leader Kim Jung Il did not attend, but other top officials were in the audience.

The United States and its allies fought for South Korea in a war in the 1950s that never officially ended with a peace treaty. More recently, the United States and other countries in have struggled to get the isolated government of North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Last year, Pyongyang agreed to end its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid under a deal brokered in the six-party talks which includes the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States.

North Korea was supposed to list all of its programs by December 31, but the U.S. says the information it offered was incomplete.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.