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North Korea Cancels Cheerleaders for S. Korea's Asian Games

  • VOA News

Three official mascots of the the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, from left, Barame, Vichuon and Chumuro pose for a photo at the 17th Asian Games Athletes' Village in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 26, 2014.

Three official mascots of the the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, from left, Barame, Vichuon and Chumuro pose for a photo at the 17th Asian Games Athletes' Village in Incheon, west of Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 26, 2014.

North Korea now says it will not send a cheerleading squad as promised to the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea next month.

Appearing on state-run television Thursday, Son Kwang Ho, vice president of North Korea’s National Olympic Committee, said “the South called the cheerleading squad political subversives aimed at stirring trouble, and raised issues with its size and even touched on costs that caused working level talks to break down."

The two sides had been talking about the logistics of sending as many as 350 North Korean cheerleaders to the games.

North Korea last sent its cheerleading team to South Korea for the 2005 Asian Athletic Championship in Incheon.

FILE - North Korean women cheer their men's basketball team during a game against the Philippines at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea.

FILE - North Korean women cheer their men's basketball team during a game against the Philippines at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea.

The North Korean cheerleaders have proven to be a rare popular attraction, and have been praised by South Korea for their well-organized choreography and peaceful cheers.

Pyongyang had announced in July that the team would accompany about 150 of its athletes for this year's Asian Games in Incheon. The athletes are still expected to attend.

North and South Korea have been bitterly divided since the end of the Korean War more than 60 years ago and have no formal diplomatic relations.

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