Pence, Kim Jong Un's sister sit meters apart at Olympics opening

Pence, Kim Jong Un's sister sit meters apart at Olympics opening

Pence, Kim Jong Un's sister sit meters apart at Olympics opening

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA-In his address to a shivering crowd of 35,000, Lee Hee-Beom promised the Pyeongchang Winter Games would be "above all, a peace Olympics".

South and North Korea marched into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium together, under a unified flag featuring the silhouette of the Korean peninsula on a white background.

The spectators included South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, and Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un.

The alternative was an Olympics "not held in a peaceful environment", said Song Min-soon, a former South Korean foreign minister and nation security adviser.

Kim Jong-un's missile tests and war of words with the United States has put the South on high alert, with the countries still technically at war since their 1953 armistice. A delegation from North Korea, dressed in identical garb, watched from an upper deck of the stadium.

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South Korean actor and producer Song Seung-whan is the executive creative director of the opening ceremony.

Performances displayed the sweep of Korean history and culture.

"We get along personally, so I believe that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, if they talked they'd probably get along".

When Kim Yuna lit the cauldron at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, her appearance was hardly surprising, though her name had been a closely guarded secret before the opening ceremony.

Pence, who has been vocal in his criticism of North Korea in the run-up to the Games, sat just feet away.

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North Korea have 22 athletes competing in the Games, but none are considered to be realistic medal prospects.

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". Teams of athletes entered to the music of Korean pop songs. The flag was carried by South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong and North Korean ice hockey player Hwang Chung Gum.

Crowds cheered boisterously at the sight of their flags, and even the contingent of Olympic athletes from Russian Federation, their country in the doping doghouse, were greeted with warm applause.

And there was a big cheer for Tonga lone competitor Pita Taufatofua, who appeared topless in a traditional Tongan skirt as he did when he appeared at the 2016 Rio Games.

Not everyone heard the plea for peace made by Lee, president of Pyeongchang's Olympic organizing committee.

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