North Korea plans to send an “army of beauties” in the form of a cheerleading squad to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.
According to the North Korean defector and researcher An Chan-Il, the selection process for cheerleaders is rigorous. Dictator Kim Jong-Un personally picks the women alongside other officials based on their beauty and family circumstances.
“They must be over 5 feet 3 inches tall and come from good families,” An told AFP. “Those who play an instrument are from a band and others are mostly students at the elite Kim Il-Sung University.”
Dubbed as the North’s “army of beauties,” cheerleading squads have previously attended events such as the 2002 Asian Games, in Busan, 2005 Asian Athletics Championships, the 2007 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup, with Kim Jong-Un’s then-future wife Ri Sol-Ju among the participants.
Chinese state media claims that cheerleaders must be “pretty in a natural way, self-disciplined and well-organized,” as well as being around “twenty years old, smart, and uniformly pleasant.” Previous routines have involved singing, dancing and even using fans as props, with all participants wearing traditional Korean dresses and waving unification flags.
“It will help with ticket sales,” said Pyeongchang Organizing Committee spokesman Sung Baik-You. “It will fulfill our desires for a peace Olympics.”
Last week, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-Yon confirmed that Seoul would allow a “massive delegation totaling between 400-500 people” from North Korea to attend the games after both countries entered talks over their mutual attendance.
On Wednesday, it was also announced that both countries would form a unified women’s ice hockey team Olympic team and even parade together under one flag in a potentially symbolic step following over 60 years of separation, despite escalating tensions over the North’s nuclear program. The proposal will also need approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We have taken note of a number of interesting proposals from different sources,” said an IOC spokesperson on Wednesday. “We are sure that the two Korean delegations will present their ideas and proposals at the meeting on Saturday in Lausanne. This will then enable the IOC to carefully evaluate the consequences and the potential impact on the Olympic Games and the Olympic competitions.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has argued the world should be under no illusions about North Korea’s “charm offensive” over the Winter Olympics, as the rogue communist state continues to threaten its Western allies.
“It is not the time to ease the pressure, or to reward North Korea,” Kono said. “The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working.”