Reversing its earlier decision, North Korea said Thursday that it will not send a cheerleading squad to accompany its athletes who will compete in the upcoming Asian Games in South Korea.
The announcement by Son Kwang-ho, the vice chairman of North Korea's National Olympic Committee, said no cheerleaders will be dispatched to the Asiad to be held in the western port city of Incheon from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
Son cited South Korea's negative view of its cheerleaders as a major reason for its decision to call off its plan.
"The South called the cheerleading squad political subversives aimed at stirring trouble, and raised issues with its size and even touched on cost that caused working level talks to break down," Son said in a statement broadcast on the North's Chosun Central TV.
Son said its decision not to send cheerleaders was conveyed to South Korea when its working-level delegates visited Incheon last week.
North Korea had earlier announced its plan to send a 350-member cheerleading squad to the Asiad in a move to promote goodwill between the two Koreas, but there have been disagreements in the negotiation process, especially on who will pay for the group while in South Korea.
Despite the move, the North has already announced that it will send a 273-member delegation made up of athletes and sports officials to the Asian Games. (Yonhap)