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N Korean cheerleaders, art troupe arrive in S Korea

News Agencies | Updated on: 7 February 2018, 12:40 IST
Pyongyang 2018 (ANI)

A group of North Korean cheerleaders arrived in South Korea for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in what was their first appearance at an international sports event in the last 16 years.

The South Korean news agency, Yonhap, reported that at least 229 cheerleaders were among the 280-member delegation, to arrive in Paju via a western cross-border land route at around 9:30 am (local time), an inter-Korean border checkpoint.

The cheerleaders wore red formal coats and black fur hats and a small North Korean flag pinned on their left chest.

The 280-member strong delegation was led by North's Sports Minister Kim Il-guk, which also included 26 taekwondo demonstrators, 21 journalists and four officials from the National Olympic Committee (NOC).

The cheering squad is expected to cheer for a unified women's ice hockey team, which was earlier approved by the two Koreas and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It could also cheer for South Korean athletes at some competitions.

North Korea sent its cheerleading squad in the Busan Asian Games way back in 2002. It also participated in the 2003 Summer Universiade in Daegu and the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon.

On Tuesday, the Samjiyon art troupe arrived in Gangneung, just outside Pyeongchang to perform in celebration at the Winter Games, on a rare trip that involved Seoul's decision of exempting a North Korean ship's sea travel from its international sanctions.

This was also the first time that Pyongyang had sent a North's art troupe since 2002. North Korea sent a 30-member delegation, consisting of singers and dancers from several music and performance groups to Seoul for a joint event.

The art troupe will perform concerts related to folk songs and other masterpieces that fits the theme of unification and suits the taste of both North and South Koreans.

The North announced on Sunday that its ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam will be arriving at Pyeongchang for attending the Winter Olympics on February 9 and will head a 22-member delegation, which included three delegates and 18 supportive staffers.

The South Korean presidential office announced that President Moon-Jae in is proposing to hold a one-on-one meeting with Yong-nam.

The North announced on Sunday that its ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam will be arriving at Pyeongchang for attending the Winter Olympics and will head a 22-member delegation, which included three delegates and 18 supportive staffers.

Yong-nam is the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

Earlier this month, North and South Korea agreed to field a joint women's ice hockey team and also march together under a unified Korea flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

North Korea will send 24 officials, including coaches, alongside the 22 athletes in three sports and five disciplines.

The two sides had met at the border village of Panmunjom, located along the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) for working-level and military talks.

The winter games will take place from February 8 to 25. The Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics will be held between March 8 to 18.

The development between the two countries has brought some ease into their strained relations.

--ANI

First published: 7 February 2018, 12:40 IST
 
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