February 13, 2018 12:17
Around 220 North Korean cheerleaders supported the unified Korean women's ice hockey team on Monday, chanting "between brethren!" no matter how the match against Sweden went.
Despite their strenuous support, the inter-Korean team failed to advance to the quarterfinals losing 0-8 to the ice hockey powerhouse.
The cheerleaders entered the rink in Gangneung 30 minutes before the match began, and the North Korean flag was vividly revealed on the chest of their outfits when they took off their padded jackets.
Some spectators rushed to take selfies against the rare backdrop, but few sang along with their motivational songs.
North Korea has dispatched huge cheerleading squads to various international sporting events in South Korea since 2002 and they usually attracted a lot of attention, but this time they mostly left audiences cold.
"Their cheering is almost robotic, so I don't feel comfortable with it," said a South Korean spectator in her 60s. Young people also felt uncomfortable with the display in view of North Korea's belligerence.
"North Korea caused tensions around the Korean peninsula with its nuclear and missile programs," said one 34-year-old. "I don't want to cheer with North Koreans."
Other simply had no appetite for the spectacle. "They have changed very little over the past 10 years, so watching them bores me after 10 minutes," said one elderly spectator.
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