06:10 GMT +320 September 2018
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    College students take a selfie with cutouts of North Korean cheerleaders during a rally to welcome the outcome of a meeting between South and North Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018

    Missiles Aside! North Korean 'Army of Beauties' to Rock Olympics (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

    © AP Photo / Ahn Young-joon
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    Only North Korean girls over 163 cm tall (5'3") and from good families can reportedly serve at the country's national cheerleading team, where they can motivate their sports teams and entertain the audience.

    Now that Pyongyang has agreed to send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, North Korea's cheerleaders are preparing for their fourth appearance in South Korea, where they are called the "army of beauties."

    The AFP cited An Chan-Il, a defector researcher who runs the World Institute for North Korea Studies, as saying that the country's female cheerleaders are meticulously selected and must meet the strictest criteria.

    "They must be over 163 centimeters (five feet and three inches), tall and come from good families. Those who play an instrument, are from a band and others are mostly students at the elite Kim Il-Sung University," An said.

    The North Korean cheerleaders appeared in South Korea for the first time during the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.

    North Korean cheer team members wave their national flags during the World Students Games opening ceremony in Daegu on 21 August 2003
    © AFP 2018 / KIM JAE-HWAN
    North Korean cheer team members wave their national flags during the World Students Games opening ceremony in Daegu on 21 August 2003

    At the time, almost 300 cheerleaders from North Korea arrived in Busan by ferry. Clad in traditional Korean dresses, they waved pale blue unification flags with a silhouette of the Korean Peninsula.

    2005 saw the appearance of former North Korean cheerleader Cho Myung-Ae in a television commercial for a Samsung mobile phone. During the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, North Korean cheerleaders arrived in South Korea for the third time.

    Pyeongchang Organizing Committee spokesman Sung Baik-You  has, meanwhile, expressed hope that the forthcoming appearance of the North's "army of beauties" in the South "will help with ticket sales," and that "it will fulfil our desires for a peaceful Olympics."

    Related:

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    IOC Hails Proposals on N Korea's Participation in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
    North Korea Likely to Take Part in Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - Reports
    South Korea Hopes Russia to Participate in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
    Tags:
    instrument, criteria, delegation, cheerleaders, 2018 Winter Olympic Games, South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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