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But although North Korean athletes have defected during competitions before, she says it is unlikely any will do so during such a high-profile event.'I wouldn't have even considered it,' Seo-hee told CNN.She was picked to be part of a North Korean cheerleading troupe after she performed for the country's late leader, Kim Jong-il.'It will be the same for the cheerleading squad this time.They will also make note of who athletes speak to and report any suspicious activity back to Pyongchang.Han Seo-hee, an ex-cheerleader who defected from the North in 2006, said any North Korean group sent abroad is divided into three groups – athletes, administrative officials and security members.They have family back home, they know if they defect, their family will be terrified and punished.'According to South Korea's Ministry of Unification, which manages defectors, about 31,000 North Korean defectors have fled to the South.
China fought on the North's behalf during the 1950-53 Korean War and has long been its chief diplomatic ally and top trading partner.
The cultural chauvinism hasn't gone away, but mainstream Japanese attitudes toward Koreans have softened.
South Korean youth culture - its K-pop and television dramas - are big hits with Japanese women.
Their embassy in Seoul is subjected to near daily protests, mostly over Tokyo's sexual exploitation of Korean women during World War II.
Today, Japan and South Korea have crucial economic ties and share tremendous cultural similarities.
Yet Japanese businesses from automakers to department stores are thriving in China, while Chinese visitors flock to Japan for tourism and shopping.