North Korea's presence at the Pyeongchang Games thus far has been symbolic, a manifestation of goodwill from Kim Jong-un or a propaganda charm offensive created to distract the world from the country's human rights abuses, depending on who you ask.
North Korean cheerleaders and athletes who are now joining the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea may celebrate the national anniversary with a joint ceremony in the South, he added.
To the sound of an instrumental version of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" - and the coordinated chanting of North Korea's tightly controlled cheering squad - figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok, 19, and Kim Ju Sik, 25, took to the ice Wednesday in their Olympic debut.
South Koreans on social media were equally impressed.More news: Millions of Android devices infected with crypto mining malware
The regime will direct how much foreign exposure North Koreans will get at the Olympics. They finished sixth in last year's Nebelhorn Trophy to qualify. The event did not feature any of the world's top-10 pairs, but Ryom and Kim finished 15th at last season's World Figure Skating Championships-and they considered their bronze medal at the Four Continents a disappointment. It was about them and their abilities, and it showed in the way they skated. "I'm really upset, and it's a pity".
Pair figure skating has grown more popular in North Korea since Kim Jong Un became leader, Elise noted. If the favored skaters make mistakes, Ryom and Kim are talented enough to capitalize. "We're very happy for them".
Bruno Marcotte, a Canadian coach who works with the pair, told Reuters on Tuesday they had been striving for a personal best score close to 70 points in the short programme.
The participation of North Korean athletes and cultural troupes in the Olympics has not been without controversy, as some critics question the North's commitment to reconciliation and others warn it will change nothing on the nuclear front. While in Montreal, Marcotte said Ryom and Kim experienced "culture shock", asking why homeless people weren't working and being confused by the concept of skating for pleasure, not for competition.More news: White House Banned New Interim Security Clearances Last Fall
They will skate their short program at the Pyeongchang Games on Wednesday, and their long program a day later.
The North Koreans won't shed any light on those mysteries when they perform at the Games. If they continue their current course, they will certainly achieve that goal.
"I wanted to ask how they chose a Beatles song, given that few North Koreans have heard of the Beatles", CNN's Will Ripley tweeted.More news: Winter Olympics: Japanese snowboarder Yuto Totsuka in scary crash during halfpipe final