NEWS
11/02/2018 23:38 SAST | Updated 12/02/2018 22:39 SAST

North Korea's Olympic Cheer Squad Is Creeping People Out

The pariah state sent 229 cheerleaders to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

North Korean cheerleaders perform as Un Song Choe competes at the men's 1500 meters in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea on Feb. 10, 2018.
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press
North Korean cheerleaders perform as Un Song Choe competes at the men's 1500 meters in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea on Feb. 10, 2018.

North Korea may have 22 athletes competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, but all eyes are on the country's 229-woman cheer squad.

The so-called "army of beauties" wear matching outfits and perform meticulously choreographed cheers when North Korean athletes compete.

Felipe Dana/Associated Press
North Korean supporters cheer during the preliminary round of the women's hockey game between Switzerland and the combined Koreas at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea on Feb. 10, 2018.

Their cheers are pretty standard, according to translators at The Washington Post. The women are singing traditional songs and chanting phrases like "go team" and "our home country, unite!"

But some onlookers think the "official government enthusiasm" is creepy.

The squad hasn't been photographed outside of North Korea in about a decade.

In 2006, 21 cheerleaders were reportedly imprisoned for talking about what they saw at sporting events in South Korea. The women had promised to view the South as "enemy territory," a South Korean newspaper reported, citing unnamed defectors from the North.

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With files from The Associated Press