Mundial de Atletismo de Daegu

Daegu recibe a los mejores atletas del mundo.

Fotografía de archivo que muestra a un grupo de animadoras norcoreanas que sostienen la bandera de "Corea unificada" durante el Summer Universiade 2003 en Daegu, (Corea del Sur). EFE/Yonhap/Archivo

DAE1 DAEGU (COREA DEL SUR), 17/01/2018.- Fotografía de archivo que muestra a un grupo de porristas norcoreanas que sostienen la bandera de "Corea unificada" durante el Summer Universiade 2003 en Daegu, (Corea del Sur). Las Coreas acordaron marchar juntos bajo una sola bandera de 'Corea unificada' en los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de PyeongChang del 9 al 25 de febrero en el Sur y formar un equipo conjunto de hockey femenino. EFE/YONHAP/PROHIBIDO SU USO EN COREA DEL SUR

North Korean cheer learders perform during the welcoming ceremony for the 2003 World Students Games in Daegu, South Korea

North Korean cheer learders perform during the welcoming ceremony for the 2003 World Students Games in Daegu, South Korea

North Korean cheer learders perform during the welcoming ceremony for the 2003 World Students Games in Daegu, South Korea (AFP Photo/KIM JAE-HWAN)

North Korean cheer learders perform during the welcoming ceremony for the 2003 World Students Games in Daegu, South Korea

Meet Kim Jong-un's 'army of beauties' - North Korea's cheer squad is going to the Winter Olympics

The inclusion of an all-singing, all-dancing Olympic cheerleading squad as a key element of the most significant diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula in two years may at first seem like an odd choice for two countries who are still technically at war. But the role of cheerleaders, chosen on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has in the past been an important political tool for North Korea as it seeks to manipulate its image to the outside world during major sports events. North Korean women cheer their men's basketball team during a game against the Philippines at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan, September 30 , 2002. Their beauty, talent and graceful manners have made North Korea's official cheerleaders very popular in South Korea  Credit:  REUTERS The presence of a cheering squad in a high level North Korean delegation to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, was announced on Tuesday during the first talks between the countries since December 2015.   Aware of the propaganda value of the regime’s most attractive women performing choreographed moves in the stadiums, North Korea’s state-controlled media has in the past crowed about southerners being captivated by the “squads of beauty.” North Korean cheerleaders show their support to their team before the quarter-final match against Germany in the FIFA Women's Football World Cup in Wuhan, in China's central province of Hubei, 22 September 2007  Credit:  AFP In a sign of the high esteem placed on the job, Ri Sol-ju, now the wife of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un was reportedly a member of a 101-strong cheerleading squad at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon, South Korea, when she was just 16. Typically cheerleaders have been about 20 years old, and selected from a good family background, although not generally from high-ranking families, and are often plucked from among university or music school students. The tradition began in 2002 during the Asian Games in Busan, a South Korean port city, and the squads were popular entertainment at several other high profile sporting events until they became the centre of a political spat between the North and South at the 17 th  Asian Games in 2014. North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  AP Pyongyang had wanted to send a 350-strong “army of beauties” to support the country’s athletes but raised the ire of the South Koreans when it demanded Seoul cover the cheerleaders’ expenses and provide appropriate security. The North then accused the South of openly slandering the decision to send the squad, “asserting it is a group for political operation in the south and for creating discord.” North Korean cheerleaders attending the Pyeongchang Olympics this year will be in good company, however. The US is also sending cheerleaders from the University of Kentucky. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has also raised the status of cheerleading, granting it provisional recognition last year, and paving the way for it to become an official Olympic sport in the future.

Meet Kim Jong-un's 'army of beauties' - North Korea's cheer squad is going to the Winter Olympics

The inclusion of an all-singing, all-dancing Olympic cheerleading squad as a key element of the most significant diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula in two years may at first seem like an odd choice for two countries who are still technically at war. But the role of cheerleaders, chosen on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has in the past been an important political tool for North Korea as it seeks to manipulate its image to the outside world during major sports events. North Korean women cheer their men's basketball team during a game against the Philippines at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan, September 30 , 2002. Their beauty, talent and graceful manners have made North Korea's official cheerleaders very popular in South Korea  Credit:  REUTERS The presence of a cheering squad in a high level North Korean delegation to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, was announced on Tuesday during the first talks between the countries since December 2015.   Aware of the propaganda value of the regime’s most attractive women performing choreographed moves in the stadiums, North Korea’s state-controlled media has in the past crowed about southerners being captivated by the “squads of beauty.” North Korean cheerleaders show their support to their team before the quarter-final match against Germany in the FIFA Women's Football World Cup in Wuhan, in China's central province of Hubei, 22 September 2007  Credit:  AFP In a sign of the high esteem placed on the job, Ri Sol-ju, now the wife of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un was reportedly a member of a 101-strong cheerleading squad at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon, South Korea, when she was just 16. Typically cheerleaders have been about 20 years old, and selected from a good family background, although not generally from high-ranking families, and are often plucked from among university or music school students. The tradition began in 2002 during the Asian Games in Busan, a South Korean port city, and the squads were popular entertainment at several other high profile sporting events until they became the centre of a political spat between the North and South at the 17 th  Asian Games in 2014. North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  AP Pyongyang had wanted to send a 350-strong “army of beauties” to support the country’s athletes but raised the ire of the South Koreans when it demanded Seoul cover the cheerleaders’ expenses and provide appropriate security. The North then accused the South of openly slandering the decision to send the squad, “asserting it is a group for political operation in the south and for creating discord.” North Korean cheerleaders attending the Pyeongchang Olympics this year will be in good company, however. The US is also sending cheerleaders from the University of Kentucky. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has also raised the status of cheerleading, granting it provisional recognition last year, and paving the way for it to become an official Olympic sport in the future.

Meet Kim Jong-un's 'army of beauties' - North Korea's cheer squad is going to the Winter Olympics

The inclusion of an all-singing, all-dancing Olympic cheerleading squad as a key element of the most significant diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula in two years may at first seem like an odd choice for two countries who are still technically at war. But the role of cheerleaders, chosen on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has in the past been an important political tool for North Korea as it seeks to manipulate its image to the outside world during major sports events. North Korean women cheer their men's basketball team during a game against the Philippines at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan, September 30 , 2002. Their beauty, talent and graceful manners have made North Korea's official cheerleaders very popular in South Korea  Credit:  REUTERS The presence of a cheering squad in a high level North Korean delegation to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, was announced on Tuesday during the first talks between the countries since December 2015.   Aware of the propaganda value of the regime’s most attractive women performing choreographed moves in the stadiums, North Korea’s state-controlled media has in the past crowed about southerners being captivated by the “squads of beauty.” North Korean cheerleaders show their support to their team before the quarter-final match against Germany in the FIFA Women's Football World Cup in Wuhan, in China's central province of Hubei, 22 September 2007  Credit:  AFP In a sign of the high esteem placed on the job, Ri Sol-ju, now the wife of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un was reportedly a member of a 101-strong cheerleading squad at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon, South Korea, when she was just 16. Typically cheerleaders have been about 20 years old, and selected from a good family background, although not generally from high-ranking families, and are often plucked from among university or music school students. The tradition began in 2002 during the Asian Games in Busan, a South Korean port city, and the squads were popular entertainment at several other high profile sporting events until they became the centre of a political spat between the North and South at the 17 th  Asian Games in 2014. North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  AP Pyongyang had wanted to send a 350-strong “army of beauties” to support the country’s athletes but raised the ire of the South Koreans when it demanded Seoul cover the cheerleaders’ expenses and provide appropriate security. The North then accused the South of openly slandering the decision to send the squad, “asserting it is a group for political operation in the south and for creating discord.” North Korean cheerleaders attending the Pyeongchang Olympics this year will be in good company, however. The US is also sending cheerleaders from the University of Kentucky. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has also raised the status of cheerleading, granting it provisional recognition last year, and paving the way for it to become an official Olympic sport in the future.

Meet Kim Jong-un's 'army of beauties' - North Korea's cheer squad is going to the Winter Olympics

The inclusion of an all-singing, all-dancing Olympic cheerleading squad as a key element of the most significant diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula in two years may at first seem like an odd choice for two countries who are still technically at war. But the role of cheerleaders, chosen on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has in the past been an important political tool for North Korea as it seeks to manipulate its image to the outside world during major sports events. North Korean women cheer their men's basketball team during a game against the Philippines at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan, September 30 , 2002. Their beauty, talent and graceful manners have made North Korea's official cheerleaders very popular in South Korea  Credit:  REUTERS The presence of a cheering squad in a high level North Korean delegation to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, was announced on Tuesday during the first talks between the countries since December 2015.   Aware of the propaganda value of the regime’s most attractive women performing choreographed moves in the stadiums, North Korea’s state-controlled media has in the past crowed about southerners being captivated by the “squads of beauty.” North Korean cheerleaders show their support to their team before the quarter-final match against Germany in the FIFA Women's Football World Cup in Wuhan, in China's central province of Hubei, 22 September 2007  Credit:  AFP In a sign of the high esteem placed on the job, Ri Sol-ju, now the wife of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un was reportedly a member of a 101-strong cheerleading squad at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon, South Korea, when she was just 16. Typically cheerleaders have been about 20 years old, and selected from a good family background, although not generally from high-ranking families, and are often plucked from among university or music school students. The tradition began in 2002 during the Asian Games in Busan, a South Korean port city, and the squads were popular entertainment at several other high profile sporting events until they became the centre of a political spat between the North and South at the 17 th  Asian Games in 2014. North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  AP Pyongyang had wanted to send a 350-strong “army of beauties” to support the country’s athletes but raised the ire of the South Koreans when it demanded Seoul cover the cheerleaders’ expenses and provide appropriate security. The North then accused the South of openly slandering the decision to send the squad, “asserting it is a group for political operation in the south and for creating discord.” North Korean cheerleaders attending the Pyeongchang Olympics this year will be in good company, however. The US is also sending cheerleaders from the University of Kentucky. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has also raised the status of cheerleading, granting it provisional recognition last year, and paving the way for it to become an official Olympic sport in the future.

North Korea agrees to send athletes and cheer squad to Winter Olympics after first talks with South in two years

North Korea on Tuesday agreed to send athletes and cheerleaders to next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold talks with Seoul to ease military tensions, in the most significant diplomatic breakthrough between the neighbouring countries in years.   The two sides came face to face for the first time since December 2015 at 10am in the Panmunjom “truce village” which straddles the heavily fortified border that has divided the North and South for six decades. After a meeting that began jovially, the tentative thaw in relations now means that Pyongyang will allow athletes, supporters, cheerleaders, art performers and a taekwondo demonstration team to attend the February 9-25 Games in the ski resort of Pyeongchang. The two nations, who are still technically at war, also pledged in a joint statement to negotiate further to deescalate military tensions and to restore a military hotline on the western peninsula that had been suspended for nearly two years. After a year of sabre-rattling on the Korean Peninsula, the signs of a fragile détente, which arose unexpectedly after Kim Jong-un made conciliatory overtures in a New Year’s Day speech, have raised distant hopes of a possible international resolution over his nuclear weapons programme. The meeting, with five veteran negotiators on each side, also discussed a potential reunion of families separated by the Korean War in the 1950s, with Seoul requesting this take place around the Lunar New Year of February 16. North Korean delegation meets South Korean delegation But the most significant progress was made in an agreement to “actively cooperate” in making a success of the Winter Olympics. The rapprochement could see athletes from both Koreas walk together during the opening ceremony and Seoul has indicated it will consider temporarily suspending certain sanctions to ease the North’s participation. While the inclusion of a cheering squad may have seemed like an odd negotiating priority, the role of cheerleaders, handpicked on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has traditionally been an important political tool for North Korea during sports events. Squad of beauty: North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  Lee Jin-man/ AP Since 2002, Pyongyang has fully exploited the propaganda value of its most attractive young women, trying to captivate Southern sports fans with its so-called “squads of beauty” performing choreographed moves. In February, it will also fall on North Korean ice-skating stars, Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, who earlier qualified for the Olympics but are not believed to be medal contenders, to help strengthen the diplomatic thaw. But while the Olympics may present a turning point for diplomacy in the short term, the incremental moves towards easing military tensions could herald a more lasting solution for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The prospect of military talks were first raised by Seoul, the South Korean unification ministry confirmed. Kim Jong-un seen on television in South Korea delivering his new year message Credit: AFP “We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearisation, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said unification vice minister Chun Hae-sung. North Korea’s reaction, however, revealed that the two sides are still far from resolving their differences. The North’s chief negotiator, Ri Son-gwon, known as a regime hardliner, expressed strong discontent over the mention of denuclearisation in the context of military discussions, warning that it would negatively impact inter-Korean ties. Anti-North Korea activists stage a demonstration against the inter-Korean talks, in Seoul Credit:  AFP “North Korea’s weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russia,” said Mr Ri. His statement appeared to confirm the scepticism of some experts that Pyongyang’s latest olive branch is intended to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and that the North may try to make unreasonable demands like a moratorium on joint US-South Korea military drills. Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, centre left, and Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's unification minister, centre right, shake hands  Credit: KPPA via Bloomberg Despite ongoing reservations from some quarters that North Korea could try to use its ties with South Korea to undermine tough UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests, US President Donald Trump on Saturday called the fresh talks a “big start”. Brian Hook, a senior advisor to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated that message on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that “he [the president] hopes that positive development results from talks between the North and the South.” But the US did not believe that the improvement of relations between the North and South could advance separately from the issue of denuclearisation, he added. “We remain focussed on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong-un to the table for meaningful negotiations.”

North Korea agrees to send athletes and cheer squad to Winter Olympics after first talks with South in two years

North Korea on Tuesday agreed to send athletes and cheerleaders to next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold talks with Seoul to ease military tensions, in the most significant diplomatic breakthrough between the neighbouring countries in years.   The two sides came face to face for the first time since December 2015 at 10am in the Panmunjom “truce village” which straddles the heavily fortified border that has divided the North and South for six decades. After a meeting that began jovially, the tentative thaw in relations now means that Pyongyang will allow athletes, supporters, cheerleaders, art performers and a taekwondo demonstration team to attend the February 9-25 Games in the ski resort of Pyeongchang. The two nations, who are still technically at war, also pledged in a joint statement to negotiate further to deescalate military tensions and to restore a military hotline on the western peninsula that had been suspended for nearly two years. After a year of sabre-rattling on the Korean Peninsula, the signs of a fragile détente, which arose unexpectedly after Kim Jong-un made conciliatory overtures in a New Year’s Day speech, have raised distant hopes of a possible international resolution over his nuclear weapons programme. The meeting, with five veteran negotiators on each side, also discussed a potential reunion of families separated by the Korean War in the 1950s, with Seoul requesting this take place around the Lunar New Year of February 16. North Korean delegation meets South Korean delegation But the most significant progress was made in an agreement to “actively cooperate” in making a success of the Winter Olympics. The rapprochement could see athletes from both Koreas walk together during the opening ceremony and Seoul has indicated it will consider temporarily suspending certain sanctions to ease the North’s participation. While the inclusion of a cheering squad may have seemed like an odd negotiating priority, the role of cheerleaders, handpicked on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has traditionally been an important political tool for North Korea during sports events. Squad of beauty: North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  Lee Jin-man/ AP Since 2002, Pyongyang has fully exploited the propaganda value of its most attractive young women, trying to captivate Southern sports fans with its so-called “squads of beauty” performing choreographed moves. In February, it will also fall on North Korean ice-skating stars, Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, who earlier qualified for the Olympics but are not believed to be medal contenders, to help strengthen the diplomatic thaw. But while the Olympics may present a turning point for diplomacy in the short term, the incremental moves towards easing military tensions could herald a more lasting solution for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The prospect of military talks were first raised by Seoul, the South Korean unification ministry confirmed. Kim Jong-un seen on television in South Korea delivering his new year message Credit: AFP “We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearisation, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said unification vice minister Chun Hae-sung. North Korea’s reaction, however, revealed that the two sides are still far from resolving their differences. The North’s chief negotiator, Ri Son-gwon, known as a regime hardliner, expressed strong discontent over the mention of denuclearisation in the context of military discussions, warning that it would negatively impact inter-Korean ties. Anti-North Korea activists stage a demonstration against the inter-Korean talks, in Seoul Credit:  AFP “North Korea’s weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russia,” said Mr Ri. His statement appeared to confirm the scepticism of some experts that Pyongyang’s latest olive branch is intended to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and that the North may try to make unreasonable demands like a moratorium on joint US-South Korea military drills. Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, centre left, and Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's unification minister, centre right, shake hands  Credit: KPPA via Bloomberg Despite ongoing reservations from some quarters that North Korea could try to use its ties with South Korea to undermine tough UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests, US President Donald Trump on Saturday called the fresh talks a “big start”. Brian Hook, a senior advisor to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated that message on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that “he [the president] hopes that positive development results from talks between the North and the South.” But the US did not believe that the improvement of relations between the North and South could advance separately from the issue of denuclearisation, he added. “We remain focussed on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong-un to the table for meaningful negotiations.”

North Korea agrees to send athletes and cheer squad to Winter Olympics after first talks with South in two years

North Korea on Tuesday agreed to send athletes and cheerleaders to next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold talks with Seoul to ease military tensions, in the most significant diplomatic breakthrough between the neighbouring countries in years.   The two sides came face to face for the first time since December 2015 at 10am in the Panmunjom “truce village” which straddles the heavily fortified border that has divided the North and South for six decades. After a meeting that began jovially, the tentative thaw in relations now means that Pyongyang will allow athletes, supporters, cheerleaders, art performers and a taekwondo demonstration team to attend the February 9-25 Games in the ski resort of Pyeongchang. The two nations, who are still technically at war, also pledged in a joint statement to negotiate further to deescalate military tensions and to restore a military hotline on the western peninsula that had been suspended for nearly two years. After a year of sabre-rattling on the Korean Peninsula, the signs of a fragile détente, which arose unexpectedly after Kim Jong-un made conciliatory overtures in a New Year’s Day speech, have raised distant hopes of a possible international resolution over his nuclear weapons programme. The meeting, with five veteran negotiators on each side, also discussed a potential reunion of families separated by the Korean War in the 1950s, with Seoul requesting this take place around the Lunar New Year of February 16. North Korean delegation meets South Korean delegation But the most significant progress was made in an agreement to “actively cooperate” in making a success of the Winter Olympics. The rapprochement could see athletes from both Koreas walk together during the opening ceremony and Seoul has indicated it will consider temporarily suspending certain sanctions to ease the North’s participation. While the inclusion of a cheering squad may have seemed like an odd negotiating priority, the role of cheerleaders, handpicked on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has traditionally been an important political tool for North Korea during sports events. Squad of beauty: North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  Lee Jin-man/ AP Since 2002, Pyongyang has fully exploited the propaganda value of its most attractive young women, trying to captivate Southern sports fans with its so-called “squads of beauty” performing choreographed moves. In February, it will also fall on North Korean ice-skating stars, Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, who earlier qualified for the Olympics but are not believed to be medal contenders, to help strengthen the diplomatic thaw. But while the Olympics may present a turning point for diplomacy in the short term, the incremental moves towards easing military tensions could herald a more lasting solution for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The prospect of military talks were first raised by Seoul, the South Korean unification ministry confirmed. Kim Jong-un seen on television in South Korea delivering his new year message Credit: AFP “We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearisation, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said unification vice minister Chun Hae-sung. North Korea’s reaction, however, revealed that the two sides are still far from resolving their differences. The North’s chief negotiator, Ri Son-gwon, known as a regime hardliner, expressed strong discontent over the mention of denuclearisation in the context of military discussions, warning that it would negatively impact inter-Korean ties. Anti-North Korea activists stage a demonstration against the inter-Korean talks, in Seoul Credit:  AFP “North Korea’s weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russia,” said Mr Ri. His statement appeared to confirm the scepticism of some experts that Pyongyang’s latest olive branch is intended to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and that the North may try to make unreasonable demands like a moratorium on joint US-South Korea military drills. Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, centre left, and Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's unification minister, centre right, shake hands  Credit: KPPA via Bloomberg Despite ongoing reservations from some quarters that North Korea could try to use its ties with South Korea to undermine tough UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests, US President Donald Trump on Saturday called the fresh talks a “big start”. Brian Hook, a senior advisor to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated that message on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that “he [the president] hopes that positive development results from talks between the North and the South.” But the US did not believe that the improvement of relations between the North and South could advance separately from the issue of denuclearisation, he added. “We remain focussed on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong-un to the table for meaningful negotiations.”

North Korea agrees to send athletes and cheer squad to Winter Olympics after first talks with South in two years

North Korea on Tuesday agreed to send athletes and cheerleaders to next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold talks with Seoul to ease military tensions, in the most significant diplomatic breakthrough between the neighbouring countries in years.   The two sides came face to face for the first time since December 2015 at 10am in the Panmunjom “truce village” which straddles the heavily fortified border that has divided the North and South for six decades. After a meeting that began jovially, the tentative thaw in relations now means that Pyongyang will allow athletes, supporters, cheerleaders, art performers and a taekwondo demonstration team to attend the February 9-25 Games in the ski resort of Pyeongchang. The two nations, who are still technically at war, also pledged in a joint statement to negotiate further to deescalate military tensions and to restore a military hotline on the western peninsula that had been suspended for nearly two years. After a year of sabre-rattling on the Korean Peninsula, the signs of a fragile détente, which arose unexpectedly after Kim Jong-un made conciliatory overtures in a New Year’s Day speech, have raised distant hopes of a possible international resolution over his nuclear weapons programme. The meeting, with five veteran negotiators on each side, also discussed a potential reunion of families separated by the Korean War in the 1950s, with Seoul requesting this take place around the Lunar New Year of February 16. North Korean delegation meets South Korean delegation But the most significant progress was made in an agreement to “actively cooperate” in making a success of the Winter Olympics. The rapprochement could see athletes from both Koreas walk together during the opening ceremony and Seoul has indicated it will consider temporarily suspending certain sanctions to ease the North’s participation. While the inclusion of a cheering squad may have seemed like an odd negotiating priority, the role of cheerleaders, handpicked on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has traditionally been an important political tool for North Korea during sports events. Squad of beauty: North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  Lee Jin-man/ AP Since 2002, Pyongyang has fully exploited the propaganda value of its most attractive young women, trying to captivate Southern sports fans with its so-called “squads of beauty” performing choreographed moves. In February, it will also fall on North Korean ice-skating stars, Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, who earlier qualified for the Olympics but are not believed to be medal contenders, to help strengthen the diplomatic thaw. But while the Olympics may present a turning point for diplomacy in the short term, the incremental moves towards easing military tensions could herald a more lasting solution for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The prospect of military talks were first raised by Seoul, the South Korean unification ministry confirmed. Kim Jong-un seen on television in South Korea delivering his new year message Credit: AFP “We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearisation, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said unification vice minister Chun Hae-sung. North Korea’s reaction, however, revealed that the two sides are still far from resolving their differences. The North’s chief negotiator, Ri Son-gwon, known as a regime hardliner, expressed strong discontent over the mention of denuclearisation in the context of military discussions, warning that it would negatively impact inter-Korean ties. Anti-North Korea activists stage a demonstration against the inter-Korean talks, in Seoul Credit:  AFP “North Korea’s weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russia,” said Mr Ri. His statement appeared to confirm the scepticism of some experts that Pyongyang’s latest olive branch is intended to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and that the North may try to make unreasonable demands like a moratorium on joint US-South Korea military drills. Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, centre left, and Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's unification minister, centre right, shake hands  Credit: KPPA via Bloomberg Despite ongoing reservations from some quarters that North Korea could try to use its ties with South Korea to undermine tough UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests, US President Donald Trump on Saturday called the fresh talks a “big start”. Brian Hook, a senior advisor to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated that message on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that “he [the president] hopes that positive development results from talks between the North and the South.” But the US did not believe that the improvement of relations between the North and South could advance separately from the issue of denuclearisation, he added. “We remain focussed on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong-un to the table for meaningful negotiations.”

North Korea agrees to send athletes and cheer squad to Winter Olympics after first talks with South in two years

North Korea on Tuesday agreed to send athletes and cheerleaders to next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold talks with Seoul to ease military tensions, in the most significant diplomatic breakthrough between the neighbouring countries in years.   The two sides came face to face for the first time since December 2015 at 10am in the Panmunjom “truce village” which straddles the heavily fortified border that has divided the North and South for six decades. After a meeting that began jovially, the tentative thaw in relations now means that Pyongyang will allow athletes, supporters, cheerleaders, art performers and a taekwondo demonstration team to attend the February 9-25 Games in the ski resort of Pyeongchang. The two nations, who are still technically at war, also pledged in a joint statement to negotiate further to deescalate military tensions and to restore a military hotline on the western peninsula that had been suspended for nearly two years. After a year of sabre-rattling on the Korean Peninsula, the signs of a fragile détente, which arose unexpectedly after Kim Jong-un made conciliatory overtures in a New Year’s Day speech, have raised distant hopes of a possible international resolution over his nuclear weapons programme. The meeting, with five veteran negotiators on each side, also discussed a potential reunion of families separated by the Korean War in the 1950s, with Seoul requesting this take place around the Lunar New Year of February 16. North Korean delegation meets South Korean delegation But the most significant progress was made in an agreement to “actively cooperate” in making a success of the Winter Olympics. The rapprochement could see athletes from both Koreas walk together during the opening ceremony and Seoul has indicated it will consider temporarily suspending certain sanctions to ease the North’s participation. While the inclusion of a cheering squad may have seemed like an odd negotiating priority, the role of cheerleaders, handpicked on the basis of their beauty and loyalty to the regime, has traditionally been an important political tool for North Korea during sports events. Squad of beauty: North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea, 2003 Credit:  Lee Jin-man/ AP Since 2002, Pyongyang has fully exploited the propaganda value of its most attractive young women, trying to captivate Southern sports fans with its so-called “squads of beauty” performing choreographed moves. In February, it will also fall on North Korean ice-skating stars, Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, who earlier qualified for the Olympics but are not believed to be medal contenders, to help strengthen the diplomatic thaw. But while the Olympics may present a turning point for diplomacy in the short term, the incremental moves towards easing military tensions could herald a more lasting solution for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The prospect of military talks were first raised by Seoul, the South Korean unification ministry confirmed. Kim Jong-un seen on television in South Korea delivering his new year message Credit: AFP “We expressed the need to promptly resume dialogue for peace settlement, including denuclearisation, and based on the mutual respect (the two Koreas) cooperate and stop activities that would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said unification vice minister Chun Hae-sung. North Korea’s reaction, however, revealed that the two sides are still far from resolving their differences. The North’s chief negotiator, Ri Son-gwon, known as a regime hardliner, expressed strong discontent over the mention of denuclearisation in the context of military discussions, warning that it would negatively impact inter-Korean ties. Anti-North Korea activists stage a demonstration against the inter-Korean talks, in Seoul Credit:  AFP “North Korea’s weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russia,” said Mr Ri. His statement appeared to confirm the scepticism of some experts that Pyongyang’s latest olive branch is intended to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and that the North may try to make unreasonable demands like a moratorium on joint US-South Korea military drills. Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, centre left, and Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's unification minister, centre right, shake hands  Credit: KPPA via Bloomberg Despite ongoing reservations from some quarters that North Korea could try to use its ties with South Korea to undermine tough UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests, US President Donald Trump on Saturday called the fresh talks a “big start”. Brian Hook, a senior advisor to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated that message on Tuesday morning, telling reporters that “he [the president] hopes that positive development results from talks between the North and the South.” But the US did not believe that the improvement of relations between the North and South could advance separately from the issue of denuclearisation, he added. “We remain focussed on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong-un to the table for meaningful negotiations.”

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2003, file photo, North Korean women hold national flags to cheer at the Daegu Universiade Games in Daegu, South Korea. In 2003, North Korea participated in the University Games in Daegu, South Korea, and its athletes walked with their South Korean counterparts during the opening and closing ceremonies. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Major fire at public sauna in South Korea kills at least 29, injures dozens

At least 29 people were killed and 29 more were injured on Thursday in a major blaze at a building housing a sports centre and public bath in the South Korean city of Jecheon, officials said. The fire broke out around 4:00pm local time (7am GMT) and quickly engulfed the entire eight-storey building, leaving many trapped inside. Sixteen victims were found at a public sauna and two elsewhere in the building, the National Fire Agency said. Television footage showed the building consumed by flames and issuing dark plumes of smoke, as several people stood waiting to be rescued from an outdoor terrace. The fire - believed to have started in a parking lot on the first floor - has been mostly put out, but the death toll may rise further as firefighters continue to search the building, an agency spokesman said.  Smoke rises from a burning building in Jecheon, South Korea  Credit: YONHAP/REUTERS "The fire produced so much toxic smoke so quickly, leaving many people unable to evacuate," the spokesman said. Jecheon is in central South Korea, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital Seoul. President Moon Jae-In expressed regret over the accident and urged officials "utmost efforts" for rescue and search operations, his office said. The worst fire accident ever to hit the modern South Korea was an arson attack on a subway station in the southeastern city of Daegu that killed 192 people in 2003. A survivor jumps down to an air mattress as he waits for rescue from the burning building in Jecheon Credit: REUTERS  

Major fire at public sauna in South Korea kills at least 29, injures dozens

At least 29 people were killed and 29 more were injured on Thursday in a major blaze at a building housing a sports centre and public bath in the South Korean city of Jecheon, officials said. The fire broke out around 4:00pm local time (7am GMT) and quickly engulfed the entire eight-storey building, leaving many trapped inside. Sixteen victims were found at a public sauna and two elsewhere in the building, the National Fire Agency said. Television footage showed the building consumed by flames and issuing dark plumes of smoke, as several people stood waiting to be rescued from an outdoor terrace. The fire - believed to have started in a parking lot on the first floor - has been mostly put out, but the death toll may rise further as firefighters continue to search the building, an agency spokesman said.  Smoke rises from a burning building in Jecheon, South Korea  Credit: YONHAP/REUTERS "The fire produced so much toxic smoke so quickly, leaving many people unable to evacuate," the spokesman said. Jecheon is in central South Korea, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital Seoul. President Moon Jae-In expressed regret over the accident and urged officials "utmost efforts" for rescue and search operations, his office said. The worst fire accident ever to hit the modern South Korea was an arson attack on a subway station in the southeastern city of Daegu that killed 192 people in 2003. A survivor jumps down to an air mattress as he waits for rescue from the burning building in Jecheon Credit: REUTERS  

Major fire at public sauna in South Korea kills at least 29, injures dozens

At least 29 people were killed and 29 more were injured on Thursday in a major blaze at a building housing a sports centre and public bath in the South Korean city of Jecheon, officials said. The fire broke out around 4:00pm local time (7am GMT) and quickly engulfed the entire eight-storey building, leaving many trapped inside. Sixteen victims were found at a public sauna and two elsewhere in the building, the National Fire Agency said. Television footage showed the building consumed by flames and issuing dark plumes of smoke, as several people stood waiting to be rescued from an outdoor terrace. The fire - believed to have started in a parking lot on the first floor - has been mostly put out, but the death toll may rise further as firefighters continue to search the building, an agency spokesman said.  Smoke rises from a burning building in Jecheon, South Korea  Credit: YONHAP/REUTERS "The fire produced so much toxic smoke so quickly, leaving many people unable to evacuate," the spokesman said. Jecheon is in central South Korea, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital Seoul. President Moon Jae-In expressed regret over the accident and urged officials "utmost efforts" for rescue and search operations, his office said. The worst fire accident ever to hit the modern South Korea was an arson attack on a subway station in the southeastern city of Daegu that killed 192 people in 2003. A survivor jumps down to an air mattress as he waits for rescue from the burning building in Jecheon Credit: REUTERS  

Valentin Balakhnichev (c), alors président de la fédération russe d'athlétisme et trésorier de l'IAAF, lors des Mondiaux, le 4 septembre 2011 à Daegu

South Korean students gather in a playground after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck in the southeastern city of Daegu

EPA1590. DAEGU (COREA DEL SUR), 15/11/2017.- Estudiantes de una escuela de enseñanza primaria de la ciudad de Daegu son evacuados tras registrarse un terremoto de 5,5 grados de magnitud en los alrededores de Pohang, en Corea del Sur, hoy 15 de noviembre de 2017. EFE/ Yonhap PROHIBIDO SU USO EN COREA DEL SUR

EPA4488. DAEGU (COREA DEL SUR), 08/11/2017.- Un artista da los últimos retoques a una obra expuesta en una feria de arte en Daegu, al sureste de Corea del Sur, hoy, 8 de noviembre de 2017. EFE/ Yonhap PROHIBIDO SU USO EN COREA DEL SUR

Pistorius comes out of the starting blocks during his men's 400 metres heat at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu

Pistorius comes out of the starting blocks during his men's 400 metres heat at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu

This Is How Far Hedge Funds Will Go for a Measly 2%

An attendee pushes a button on a model of the AP1000 reactor at the Toshiba Corp. booth at the the 22nd World Energy Congress (WEC) in Daegu, South Korea, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The WEC, a global conference on the energy market, runs until Oct. 17. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Leichtathletik: NADA kontert Kritik nach Doping-Studie: "Sehen nicht alles schwarz"

Die NADA hat Vorwürfe an der gegenwärtigen Doping-Bekämpfung zurückgewiesen, die im Zuge der Veröffentlichung der jüngsten Dopingstudie aufgekommen sind. Laut dieser sollen 40 Prozent aller Leichtathleten bei der WM 2011 in Daegu/Südkorea gedopt gewesen sein . Perikles Simon, Co-Autor der Studie, hatte in der FAZ die Strukturen im deutschen Anti-Doping-Kampf angeprangert.