MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – North Korea’s team was officially welcomed at the Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea, as cheerleaders danced to the international hit by the South Korean pop star Psy, reports AFP.
While other delegations cheered and took pictures of dancers, who bounced joyfully to the world-famous “Gangnam Style” song, the North Korean delegation replied with a solemn smile and inscrutable silence.
As South Korean officials were raising the North Korean flag, the delegation from Pyongyang began singing “Auegukga”, or Patriotic Song, their national anthem. Normally, under a South Korean national security law, anyone waving the North’s flag and singing “Auegukga” could face arrest, AFP said.
The presence of the North Korean team at the Asian Games has caused animosity between the two Koreas, which are still technically in a state of war after the Korean War ended in 1953 without the signing of a peace treaty.
North Korean athletes and officials appeared to be under strict instructions to keep their mouths closed. Although not inclined to speak, North Korean athletes are ideologically motivated and willing to represent their country at its best, said the The Asian Correspondent news agency.
“I want to say to each of our athletes that from the moment they leave our country they must never forget the Fatherland”, said the national coach of North Korea’s gymnastics team Choe Myong-Sim, as quoted by the Guardian.
North Korea sent a 273-member delegation to Incheon consisting of officials, coaches and 150 athletes. This is the biggest delegation that Pyongyang has ever sent to the South since the 1953 armistice between the two neighbors.