Updated July. 08, 2014 07:05
North Korea will send for the fourth time a cheerleading squad to Incheon Asian Games in September. In previous three events, the North`s cheering squad, mostly comprising of young women, called the "army of beauties in South Korea, often received more attention than the athletes.
Among the team sent to the 2005 Asian field and track game in Incheon was Ri Sol Ju, who later became the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. At the time, Ri was 17 years old and was included in the cheer group as a student of Kumsung School, known for fostering artistic talents. With striking beauty, she had been mobbed by photographers.
Cho Myung Ae, the North`s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the joint August 15 Grand National Unification Festival held in 2002, also attracted huge popularity with beautiful appearance and dancing, and gained even a fan club in South Korea. She graduated from Pyongyang University of Music and Dance and was a dancer of North Korea Mansudae Dance Troupe. Cho co-starred with South Korean pop star Lee Hyo-ri for a TV mobile phone commercial.
North Korea`s cheering squad is mainly comprised of young women chosen on the basis of ideology, and are students excelling in music and dance from Pyongyang Music and Dance College as well as good-looking women selected from colleges in regional areas.
Ahn Chan-il, a North Korean defector and head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies, said, "North Korea is likely to place women whose appearance equals Ri and Cho on the front row of the squad to attract South Korean media, in an aim to churn out another female star."
This year`s cheering team may be composed of around 100 women in the upcoming event. Working-level talks will be finalized early next month at the latest on the dispatch of athletes and cheer team.