In a rare display of foreign sports stars
and raucous cheering in North Korea, professional wrestlers have been bringing circus-style
mayhem to Pyongyang. Some watchers speculate the event, co-hosted
by a Japanese lawmaker, will help improve relations between the two countries
Our Sohn Jung-in has more. The crowd cheers as renowned names from the
wrestling world like Bob Sapp and Jerome Le Banner take to the ring.
The last time Pyongyang hosted a pro wrestling competition like this was in April 1995.
Foreign media reported on the event, taking a greater interest in the changes they have
noticed in the state, such as its developed infrastructure and increasingly savvy spectators.
“This is the first time I′ve watched such an event. It was very impressive. I hope these
friendly games take place more often for the sake of unity.”
Some American visitors were in attendance, including Pras Michel, who co-founded the
hip-hop group The Fugees. “I′m struck to see the developed infrastructure
in the country. Well, obviously… exactly.” With guests like Pras Michel, who is a friend
of U.S. President Barack Obama, some speculate it was North Korea′s move to improve its
international relations, but experts view it as an ordinary sports diplomacy event that
Pyongyang has been holding for a long time. “The move is seen as North Korea′s way to
show that its young leader is active and friendly to the people by hosting athletic events.”
In line with the competition, Antonio Inoki, a Japanese wrestler-turned-lawmaker who co-hosted
the event, met with North Korea′s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam over the weekend.
They are believed to have exchanged views on Japanese nationals who were abducted by
North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s. Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.