The regime of North Korean boy dictator Kim Jong-un claims it wants to ease tensions with its Westernized, capitalistic Southern rival. So what promise is Kim making to prove his resolve?
a.) Allowing human rights monitors into his country?
b.) Pulling troops out of the DMZ, and beginning removal of thousands of hazardous landmines?
c.) Admitting to his regime’s many crimes?
d.) Apologizing for the death of Lt. Col. Henry Blake in the third season?
Nope. It’s none of those things. North Korea is proving its commitment to rapprochement by sending a cheerleading squad to the upcoming Asian Games, set for September 19th – October 4th in the South Korean city of Incheon.
Actually, North Korea’s all-girl cheerleading squad, which used to count Kim’s mysterious wife Ri Sol-ju as a member, is rather famous internationally. The 90-member squad, which South Koreans call the “Army of Beauties,” has appeared at several previous international sporting events, and usually garners more media attention than the athletes.
The Asian Games, also known as the Asiad, is an international multi-sport event held every four years, featuring athletes from all over Asia. The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and comprise the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. Nine nations have hosted the Asian Games, and 46 nations have participated.
In addition to offering the cheerleaders for the Games, the North is calling on South Korea to stop “slandering” the Communist state, and to cease joint military exercises with the United States. These demands are believed to have come from the highest levels of the DPRK. The South’s response is the same as always — commit to nuclear disarmament, and we can talk.
There was a minor scandal involving the cheerleaders in 2003. On a bus trip to South Korea’s University Games, the cheerleaders saw a poster of Kim Jong-il that had been hung crooked, and became enraged. South Korean reporters traveling on the bus said they were shocked and surprised by the virulent reaction from the Northern girls, treating a mere accident as if it were an intentional slight against their Dear Leader.