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North Korean cheerleader accidentally claps for Americans

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A North Korean cheerleader has been caught on video accidentally clapping for American figure skaters.

The momentary lapse in discipline among North Korea’s ‘army of beauties’ occurred during the pair skating short program on February 15 at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The North Korean cheer squad roared in perfectly synchronized applause and flag waving for the nation’s figure skating duo Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sok.

Later in the program, as American skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim took the ice, the North Korean cheerleaders sat stony faced – save for one.

North Korean cheerleaders wave the Korean Unification flag during the Pair Skating Free Skating at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 15

North Korean cheerleaders wave the Korean Unification flag during the Pair Skating Free Skating at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 15

North Korean cheerleaders wave the Korean Unification flag during the Pair Skating Free Skating at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 15

Ryom and Kim were the only North Koreans to qualify for the Games, and had been the nation's best hope for a medal. They are seen during the pair skating free program on February 14

Ryom and Kim were the only North Koreans to qualify for the Games, and had been the nation's best hope for a medal. They are seen during the pair skating free program on February 14

Ryom and Kim were the only North Koreans to qualify for the Games, and had been the nation’s best hope for a medal. They are seen during the pair skating free program on February 14

Flanked by a minder and another cheerleader, the young beauty had a distracted half smile on her face as she clapped politely.

Without turning, the cheerleader sitting next to her is seen in Japanese news footage jabbing the clapping woman sharply with an elbow.

The clapper turns with a bewildered look, as the second cheerleader mutters something to her under her breath.

Realizing her mistake, the first cheerleader drops her hands instantly to her lap.

Ryom and Kim were the only North Koreans to qualify for the Games, and had been the nation’s best hope for a medal. The pair ended up ranked 13th out of 16 teams. 

The country’s other athletes were given wildcard entries, part of South Korea’s diplomatic efforts to re-engage with the North. 

As American skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim (pictured) took the ice, one North Korean cheerleader appeared to forget herself and began clapping politely

As American skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim (pictured) took the ice, one North Korean cheerleader appeared to forget herself and began clapping politely

As American skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim (pictured) took the ice, one North Korean cheerleader appeared to forget herself and began clapping politely

The North Korean cheer squad applauded wildly for Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, ahead of their performance in the pair figure skating short program on February 14

The North Korean cheer squad applauded wildly for Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, ahead of their performance in the pair figure skating short program on February 14

The North Korean cheer squad applauded wildly for Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, ahead of their performance in the pair figure skating short program on February 14

The North Korean cheerleaders, outnumbering the nation's athletic team by 10 to one, have been a fixture at the Winter Olympics. They are seen at a women's hockey game last week

The North Korean cheerleaders, outnumbering the nation's athletic team by 10 to one, have been a fixture at the Winter Olympics. They are seen at a women's hockey game last week

The North Korean cheerleaders, outnumbering the nation’s athletic team by 10 to one, have been a fixture at the Winter Olympics. They are seen at a women’s hockey game last week

The North Korean cheerleaders, outnumbering the nation’s athletic team by 10 to one, have been a fixture wherever North Korea’s 22 athletes have competed. 

The young women’s every move has been shadowed by sinister masked guards as they are shuttled from venue to venue.

The guards are unarmed, having had to give up their guns under Olympic rules, but they are highly trained in martial arts and are members of elite units in their native North Korea. 

North Korea’s decision to send the cheering troupe has been seen in some quarters as a propaganda victory, and there is no doubt the cheerleaders have generated fascination across the globe. 

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