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Opinion

North Korea’s distracting cheerleaders

Jan 15,2018
In a farcical move yet again, North Korea is preparing to send hundreds of its state-trained cheerleaders, singers, dancers and other performers — frontrunners or puppets, if you will, of its gargantuan propaganda machine mostly irrelevant to the Olympic sports — to the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, as it often did particularly when pro-Pyongyang administrations were in power in South Korea.

The multipurpose stunt will almost certainly steal the show by distracting global audiences’ attention from otherwise heated sports competitions, so that it can shine a spotlight on the carefully choreographed image of North Korea as an “ordinary, people-friendly, and peace-loving country” on the global stage through such a dazzling display as vividly seen in the past, despite its pitiful disqualification this time for Winter Olympics sports events except for pair ice skating.

On top of that, the North Korean cheerleading squad may even try to root for South Korea’s individual athletes or teams in some, if not all, of the Olympic games to show off its ethnic solidarity with South Koreans or to earn their public support by evoking sympathy from them in a well orchestrated strategy to drive a wedge between the dovish and the hawkish in South Korean society.

Why bother inviting them?

Kim Hyeon-sung, Student at University of California, Berkeley
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