South Korea government agreed Wednesday to foot the $2.64 million bill to cover the costs accrued by the 500 cheerleaders, musicians, taekwondo performers, and journalists North Korea sent to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee will pay for the costs incurred by North Korean athletes, and Pyongyang will pay the costs of sending a high-level delegation, including Kim Jong Un’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong, to the games, the Washington Post reported.
Robert Kelly, professor of international relations at Pusan National University in South Korea, said the arrangement was typical of North Korea's dealings with the South.
“The North constantly couples its diplomacy with demands for aid, especially cash, as though the international community has to pay for the privilege of engaging,” he said.
Kelly said it’s part of a power play to “shakedown” their own people, the South, and other negotiating partners.
North Korea sent a total of 424 people to South Korea for Olympic-related events. There were 229 members of an all-female “cheerleading squad,” a 140 member orchestra, and 22 athletes participating in the Games.
The $2.64 million bill will cover transportation and food costs, as well as accommodating the whole orchestra in a five-star hotel for the duration of their stay.