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Get a sneak peek of North Korean cheerleaders performing

The Samyijon orchestra entertains the country's athletes (and Soohorang the Tiger) before the 2018 Winter Olympics.
north korean cheerleaders at 2018 winter olympics
HuffPost Korea

Apparently attempting to wrest the viral-Olympic-story award away from "110,000 condoms in Olympic village," North Korea has let it be known that the country has a cheerleading squad. The fact that North Korean cheerleaders exist may not be surprising — after all, the entire country does a lot of cheerleading for its leader — but the fact that they look very American is.

Not on the short-skirts-and-pompoms tip, though. HuffPost caught the all-female squad on video performing for the North Korean athletes. Looking and sounding much like an NCAA marching band, the 229-member, red-and-gold-uniformed group entertained the 22-member North Korean delegation with versions of popular Korean songs such as "Nice to Meet You" and "Arirang."

At one point, the Winter Olympics' official mascot, a cuddly white tiger named Soohorang, materialized for hugs with the athletes and the North Korean cheerleaders.

After the performance, a bit of drama ensued, as the North Korean cheerleaders' hand drum went missing, requiring an urgent search. It was a rare candid glimpse from the tightly choreographed country.

The Samyijon orchestra, as the cheer squad is known, will perform in Seoul on Saturday. They're quite a sensation — more than 150,000 South Koreans attempted to snag one of only 1,060 available tickets, according to CNBC. But you can watch them below.

Watch the North Korean cheerleaders perform

 

North Korea's decision to send an Olympic delegation came as a surprise late last month, the result of last-minute talks between the democratic South and authoritarian North. The two Koreas will compete on separate teams but will march together in the opening ceremony under one flag.

Earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence would not rule out meetings with North Korean officials during the games. But yesterday, state media said the country's representatives have no intention of meeting with Pence. The North Korean delegation, which includes a sister of leader Kim Jong-Un, will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for lunch on Saturday, Reuters reported. That will be the first such meeting in a decade.