North Korea has selected even more cheerleaders to be sent to Incheon for the Asian Games opening on Sept. 19. Citing an unnamed source in Ryanggang Province, Radio Free Asia on Wednesday said authorities recruited 150 female university students in Pyongyang last month and another 150 from among artists and performers across the country.
According to RFA, the women underwent physical exams in Pyongyang on Aug. 2.
The new batch of cheerleaders had to be under 25 years of age, at least 165 cm tall and be actresses or other performers.
Another source said the successful candidates were picked not only based on their physical attributes but for their singing and dancing skills. "The selection standards were very high," the source added.
RFA speculated that North Korea may be planning a special performance judging by the stringent selection. It added that interest in the Asian Games has increased significantly among North Koreans since the nationwide search started.
This will be the fourth time that North Korea has dispatched cheering squads to international sporting events in South Korea.
But Seoul and Pyongyang remain miles apart about how to split the cost of hosting the large contingent. North Korea wants Korea to foot the entire bill, while South Korea insists that the North must abide by the regulations of the Olympic Council of Asia and pay for the lodgings of its own athletes and cheerleaders.
Members of the organizing committee met with North Korean representatives on July 17 to discuss the size of the cheering squad and potential support payments, but the talks broke down.