Pyeongchang, South Korea: North Korea’s cheerleaders serenaded South Korean followers with tender love songs Saturday as a joint Korean ice hockey staff’s emotional Olympic debut resulted in tears earlier than the sister of Kim Jong Un.
The primary Kim dynasty member to go to the south for the reason that 1950-53 Korean Struggle, Kim Yo Jong sat alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in to observe the Koreans undergo an Eight-Zero shutout by Switzerland in Pyeongchang.
Nonetheless, the outcome mattered lower than the political symbolism as round 200 of North Korea’s famed “military of beauties” charmed a crowd of three,600 besotted locals with nostalgic oldies — and even broke out a Mexican wave.
The highly effective Kim sister additionally attended Friday’s opening ceremony, however earlier than the hockey match there have been not one of the flag-burning protests over the North’s Olympic presence that had marked the previous couple of days.
Exterior, many locals wore the joint staff’s jersey with “KOREA” emblazoned throughout their chests and waved mini unification flags — a pale blue silhouette of the Korean peninsula.
After delivering an invite for Moon to go to Pyongyang earlier on Saturday, Kim arrived wearing a black fur-collared coat and took her seat subsequent to North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, with Olympic chief Thomas Bach additionally current.
The Kim sister put her fingers to her mouth early within the match when North Korean ahead Jong Su Hyon went shut.
However a first-period treble from Alina Muller set the tone and successfully dashed any hopes of a home made fairytale.
“The chemistry on the staff is healthier than I ever predicted,” mentioned Korea coach Sarah Murray, disregarding the heavy defeat.
“They giggle collectively, they hang around collectively, they eat meals collectively. I stroll into the locker room and you may’t inform who’s from the North and who’s from the South. They’re simply ladies taking part in hockey.”
Decked out in pink tracksuits and woolly hats, North Korea’s cheerleaders sang “uri nun, hana da” (we’re one) and clapped in excellent unison as native hip hop artists rapped on a stage behind them and Ok-Pop blared over the loudspeakers in a stark conflict of cultures.
Native followers took photos of the cheerleaders, who smiled for the cameras earlier than unfurling a unification flag on the last buzzer.
Moments later, Kim Yo Jong approached the ice with the opposite dignitaries to applaud the Korean gamers and participate in a bunch photograph.
The gamers shook fingers with South Korean President Moon however Kim didn’t provide her hand.
“(President Moon) mentioned plenty of good issues,” mentioned goalie Shin So-jung after the sport.
“Like that we have now come a good distance and that we must be happy with ourselves as a result of we have now written historical past.”
In the meantime the cheerleaders continued to chant lengthy after the remainder of the sector had emptied.
The troupe, cheered by dozens of followers as their bus pulled up below tight safety earlier than the sport, have been dispatched south as a part of a North Korean attraction offensive after months of fiery rhetoric threatening nuclear conflict and provocative missile assessments.
The women, all of their late teenagers or early 20s, are mentioned to be handpicked from elite universities and bear strict background checks.
Its most well-known alumna is Ri Sol Ju, higher recognized as of late because the First Girl of North Korea.
The North solely agreed final month to attend its first Olympics within the South, however every time Pyongyang considers sending a delegation to a sporting occasion in South Korea drama typically appears to observe.
On the 2003 College Video games in Taegu, accusations that native right-wing teams had “ransacked” bedrooms and stolen underwear on the North Korean delegation’s resort prompted the cheerleaders to down pom-poms in protest.
North and South Korea have shared a closely fortified border for the reason that Korean Struggle resulted in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.