North Korean cheerleaders to lead charm offensive at winter games

by WorldTribune Staff, January 17, 2018

North Korea announced on Jan. 17 that it would send a 230-member “army of beauties” cheering squad to the 2018 Winter Olympics at PyeongChang South Korea.

The announcement was made during working-level talks between the two Koreas at the border village of Panmunjom.

Ri Sol-Ju, center, is shown in this file photo during her appearance at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon as a member of a North Korean national cheering squad. She is now the wife of Kim Jong-Un. / Yonhap

“The North has yet to disclose details of the cheering team. But given its past record, chances are high that it may send a group of elite female supporters who fascinated their southern compatriots in the past with their good looks, charming demeanors and well choreographed moves,” Yonhap reported.

North Korea has used the cheer squads before at international sports events hosted by the South. The squads were sent to the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, the 2003 Summer Universiade in Daegu and the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon.

It was later revealed that Kim Jong-Un’s wife, Ri Sol-Ju, was on the cheer squad sent to the 2005 event. Ri was educated at an elite school for entertainers.

“Members of the team are reportedly picked through a vigorous examination of family background, appearance, skills and loyalty to the government,” the Yonhap report said.

The report added: “Not every North Korean cheering squad going outside of the country is composed of young, beautiful women. The North sent a team of mostly middle-aged women and men to cheer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”

Meanwhile, Freedom House, a Washington-based human rights watchdog, said it its annual report that North Korea is one of the least free nations in the world.

According to the report, released this week, the North got only 3 points out of a possible 100, the third-lowest among the 195 nations assessed. Only Syria and Yemen scored worse.

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