North Korea refuses to send cheerleaders to Asian Games
The Asian Games, the largest sporting event in Asia, is slated to start on September 19th in Incheon, South Korea. A few days ago, North Korea agreed to send a squad of 350 cheerleaders to support their athletes. This appeared to be a good sign for North-South relations. Unfortunately, on Friday, North Korea blamed South Korea for "hostility" when discussing the cost of stay for the cheerleaders and decided to pull their cheer team altogether. Apparently, North Korea wanted to house the cheerleaders on a ferry docked in the Incheon harbor to prevent them from making escape attempts. They also expected South Korea to cover this cost, but South Korean officials refused.
So who, exactly, are the cheerleaders dubbed the "squad of beauty," and what kind of cheer routine do they do?
Chinese radio describes these ladies as “Pretty in a natural way, self-disciplined and well-organized.”
Don't expect sexy dance routines from these ladies though.
While they are beautiful, most of their cheering takes places from the stands and consists of them holding up cheer cards in a choreographed manner, like a high school pep rally. And instead of tight leotards, they wear fun T-shirts.
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Cheerleaders are usually handpicked from the families of military officials to ensure that they have a clean political background. Current leader Kim Jong-un's wife is a former cheerleader.
The last time North Korea sent cheerleaders was nearly a decade ago, and there have been rumors that many of them were imprisoned for talking about their experiences abroad after they came home. It is unfortunate that the world won't get to see a current broadcast of these ladies cheering at the Asian Games, but hopefully continued negotiations will improve North-South relations.