N. Korea to Send Cheerleaders for Peace

In a new twist on basketball diplomacy, North Korea plans to send its apparently beloved but rarely seen cheerleaders to the Asian Games. The sports tournament, which occurs every four years, is taking place in South Korea’s Incheon. Pyongyang said in a statement to its official state news agency that “We have decided to dispatch a cheerleading squad along with the athletes to the 17th Asian Games in order to improve relationships between the North and the South and to create an atmosphere of national reconciliation.” The squad’s appearance at the games in September will mark the first time the cheerleaders have appeared in South Korea in nearly a decade. According to The Korea Times, the squad is comprised of “young, good-looking women,” including in the past Ri Sol Ju, who is Kim Jong-un’s wife. They are said to have “created a sensation at each event they attended, drawing more attention from the public, as well as the media, than the athletes.” The cheerleading squad tends to promote peace and unification in their routines, but it may take more than a few splits and pyramids to make Asia forget about North Korea’s human-rights abuses and short-range missile testing.