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Members of the North Korean cheering band wave flags ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 9, 2018.
Members of the North Korean cheering band wave flags ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 9, 2018.
Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

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North Korea sent more than 200 cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics

The “army of beauties” has descended on Pyeongchang.

When we think of North Korea, we tend to think of the glowering face of Kim Jong Un, the country’s poverty and isolation, and, above all, its fearsome arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Now add cheerleaders to the list.

One of the biggest stories of the ongoing Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang has been the presence of a huge delegation of North Korean athletes, hangers-on, and government officials — including Kim’s sister, Kim Jo Yong.

More specifically, the North Korean government dispatched cheerleaders, fans, reporters, a taekwondo demonstration team, and a 140-member orchestra. North Korean and South Korean athletes marched under one flag during the opening ceremony, and the two countries are fielding a joint women’s hockey team that includes 12 North Korean players.

But it’s the red parka-clad North Korean cheerleaders who are emerging as the social media stars of the early days of the Olympics because of their over-the-top — and carefully choreographed — songs and dances.

The photos below give you a taste.

North Korean cheerleaders at their accomodations, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang.
North Korean cheerleaders at their accomodations, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang.
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders at a rest stop as their bus convoy carrying a 280-member delegation was on its way to Pyeongchang.
The cheerleaders at a rest stop as their bus convoy, carrying a 280-member delegation, was on its way to Pyeongchang.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders leave after a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018.
The cheerleaders leave after a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village on February 8, 2018.
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders hold North Korea flags before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The cheerleaders hold North Korea flags before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders sing and wave prior to the Opening Ceremony.
The cheerleaders sing and wave prior to the Opening Ceremony.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders wave "unification flags" ahead of the opening ceremony.
The cheerleaders wave "unification flags" ahead of the opening ceremony.
Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders during the opening ceremony.
The cheerleaders during the opening ceremony.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the North Korean cheering band. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (top center), North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (top second left) and IOC President Thomas Bach (left) sit behind North Korea's cheerleaders waving the Unified Korea's flags during the
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (top center), North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (top second left) and IOC President Thomas Bach (left) sit behind North Korea's cheerleaders waving the Unified Korea's flags during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team on February 10, 2018.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders perform during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round.
The cheerleaders perform during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round.
Carl Court/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders prior to the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the Unified Korea team and Switzerland.
The cheerleaders prior to the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the Unified Korea team and Switzerland.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders prior to the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland.
The cheerleaders prior to the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders react as (top left to right) South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, and Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's lea
North Korean cheerleaders react as (top left to right) South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, president of the IOC Thomas Bach, North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, and Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watch the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the Unified Korea team loose to Switzerland.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
North Korean cheerleaders wearing masks as they perform during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland.
The cheerleaders wearing masks as they perform during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team.
The cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team.
Jen Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea's cheerleaders hold the Unified Korea flag and cheer after the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team.
The cheerleaders hold the Unified Korea flag and cheer after the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team.
Jun Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

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