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Monday, June 21, 1999 Published at 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK


Jackson in Korean controversy

Jackson's concert marks the anniversary of the start of the Korean War

Pop superstar Michael Jackson has flown into South Korea to an ecstatic welcome - despite a row over a forthcoming charity concert there.

The concert is due to take place on 25 June, the 49th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a date which local war veterans claim is insensitive and innappropriate.

Concert organisers Cheil Communications have apologised for the misunderstanding, but say the date was picked to highlight the suffering caused by wars such as the 1950-53 conflict.

[ image: Man on a mission: Jackson with Nelson Mandela in 1996]
Man on a mission: Jackson with Nelson Mandela in 1996
"We chose the date intentionally as it is a charity concert for needy children and the date is aimed at sending a message of peace," said a spokesperson for the company.

Jackson will be joined onstage at the gig at Seoul's Chamsil Olympic Stadium by stars such as Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, violinist Vanessa Mae, actor Steven Seagal and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

But singers Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder have had to pull out of the event at the last minute due to work pressure.

There is another hurdle to be cleared before Friday's spectacular. Only one third of the 60,000 tickets for the show have been sold so far.

Ticket prices for the event range between £40 and £1,600, and many have blamed high prices, at a time of economic difficulty, for the slow sell.

But concert organisers insist that Koreans seldom book far in advance of an event and they expect the concert to be sold out soon.

The event will be televised across the world and if it does sell out, is expected to bring in around £3.7m.

Jackson has said that this gig and another in Munich on 27 June is to help needy children in North Korea, Kosovo and Africa where, "children are in pain because of the greed and political disagreements of us adults".

Proceeds of the shows, called Michael Jackson And Friends - What More Can I Give, will go to the Red Cross, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

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