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South and North Korea Unite at the Winter Olympics

Hosts of the 2018 winter olympics; South Korea produced a show of unity with neighbours North Korea during the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang. Their athletes entered under the same flag during the parade, after months of tension in the Korean peninsula.

“We are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us,” declared Olympic president Thomas Bach.

North Korea ice hockey player Chung Gum Hwang and South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong were joint flagbearers.

An estimated 35,000 spectators inside the Olympic Stadium were given seat warmers, wind shields, hats and gloves with temperatures as low as -6C during the two hour-long ceremony.
Senior political figures from North Korea and USA – two of the countries at the centre of the political row – were both present.

Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, was sat one row behind USA vice-president Mike Pence in the VIP section.

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in said in the build-up: “I would like to take this opportunity to convey greetings and a message of friendship from the people of Korea.

The International Olympic Committee invited 169 Russians who have met the anti-doping criteria to compete as independent athletes and their team will be known as the ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ under the neutral Olympic flag.

There was also a performance of John Lennon’s Imagine, which included the formation of a giant dove of peace.

It all culminated in the ceremony centrepiece, which was the traditional lighting of the Olympic flame. That saw the final torchbearer Yuna Kim, who won Olympic ice skating gold in 2010, at the top of a slope light the flame as 30 fire rings ascended towards the white moon-shaped porcelain cauldron.

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