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.
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."