Life's a beach as North Korea cheerleaders mobbed by media

By AFP
Published: February 13, 2018
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North Korean cheerleaders are surrounded by media as they attempt to walk on Gyeongpo beach in Gangneung on February 13, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

North Korean cheerleaders are surrounded by media as they attempt to walk on Gyeongpo beach in Gangneung on February 13, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP PHOTO: AFP PHOTO: AFP North Korean cheerleaders are surrounded by media as they attempt to walk on Gyeongpo beach in Gangneung on February 13, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

GANGNEUNG: North Korea’s Olympic cheerleaders were forced to abandon a visit to the beach when they were mobbed hundreds of excitable media on Tuesday.

The cheerleaders, dressed in red uniforms with red and white woolly hats, managed a quick walk before hopping back on their bus after they were met by a huge scrum of journalists.

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The North’s 229-strong cheering squad, dubbed the “army of beauties”, have drawn much attention since arriving for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last week.

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

“We haven’t been able to see the beach,” complained one of the cheerleaders as they returned to the bus.

The cheerleaders drew another crowd when they held an impromptu performance at Ojukheon House, one of the oldest traditional Korean houses in the South, for South Korean and foreign tourists.

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The cheer squad, all in their late teens or early 20s, are said to be handpicked from elite universities and undergo strict background checks.

Their most famous alumna is Ri Sol Ju, better known these days as the First Lady of North Korea.

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

“When I saw them on television, I had a bad image of them but they are so pretty,” said Hwang Ji-woo, a 12-year-old student from Anyang.

“It feels like North and South have reunified,” Hwang added.

But others were more wary about the presence of the North Korean delegation, which numbers more than 500 — in support of just 22 athletes.

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

Cho Hye-joon, a 23-year-old student from Seoul who was

interviewed by a North Korean TV reporter, said: “She asked me about what I thought about the current rapprochement between the North and South.

“I had no comment, because if I say something wrong, that would be bad.”

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