Ever the fence mender, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided to send the country's prized cheerleading squad to September's Asian Games in Incheon in South Korea, according to Reuters
"It is necessary to put an end to all kinds of calumnies and vituperation that foster misunderstanding and distrust among the fellow countrymen," said a statement from the country's Korean Central News Agency.
"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."
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Even though they have made only a handful of appearances, North Korea's cheerleading squad is popular and has been praised for their tightly choreographed routines and messages of peace and unification.
Kim Jong Un's wife, Ri Sol Ju, was a member of a 101-member cheerleading squad that took part in the Asian Athletics Championships in South Korea in 2005 before the couple were married, noted Reuters.
In May, the reputed ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-un who was widely reported to have been executed, turned up alive and singing the praises of the "Dear Marshal."
Hyon Song-wol, a popular girl band singer, appeared on state-controlled television wearing a military uniform to address the National Meeting of Artists in Pyongyang. She thanked Kim Jong-un, saying, "Today's Moranbong Band is possible only because of the heavenly trust and warm care of the Dear Marshal."
South Korean and Japanese media reports claimed she had been executed by machine gun for making and selling pornographic videos of herself. Other rumors claimed Ri Sol-ju did something similar during her career as a singer. At the time, North Korea termed the reports "an unpardonable hideous provocation hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership."
North Korea has been threatening to conduct a fourth nuclear test, a violation of United Nations sanctions, while calling for an end to hostilities between the two countries, according to BBC News
. North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 civil war ended in a truce, noted Reuters.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korea's President Park Geun-hye asked North Korea to end nuclear testing and halt its nuclear system during Xi's visit to the country's capital of Seoul last week, the BBC reported.
Some 45 countries will participate in 51 different sports during the 17th annual Asian Games from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. It marks the third time South Korea has hosted the Olympics-style contests.
The Asian Games are run by the Olympic Council of Asia
, which controls all international sports competitions in Asia and one of five continental associations recognized by the International Olympic Committee. It was formed in 1982 before the Seoul Summer Olympics and has permanent headquarters in Kuwait.
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