For the first time in nearly a decade, North Korea will send cheerleaders to South Korea for the Asian Games, state news agency KCNA reports.
The cheerleaders will accompany athletes taking part in the Asian Games in September at the South Korean city of Incheon.
The cheerleaders and athletes are being sent to “improve relationships” between the North and South, according to a statement reported by KCNA.
North Korea last sent cheerleaders in 2005 for the Asian Athletics Championships, also held in Incheon.
That contingent was made up of 101 cheerleaders, including Ri Sol-ju who went on to marry North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, according to Reuters news agency.
North Korea has so far sent cheerleaders to South Korea only three times since the Korean War.
The Communist country said on Monday that its decision to send cheerleaders again would “create an atmosphere” of reconciliation.
“Our sincere decision this time will melt the frozen North-South relations with the heat of national reconciliation while displaying the entire Korean people’s will of unification in and outside [of the peninsula],” said the statement.
The 2014 Asian Games, officially known as the XVII Asiad, is the largest sporting event in Asia governed by Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). The event is scheduled to take place in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 – October 4, 2014, with 439 events in 36 sports and discipline set to feature in the Games.