Korean unity, historic handshake as Pyeongchang Olympics open

The two Koreas marched together and South Korea’s president shared a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un’s sister as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opened in a spirit of intense rapprochement on Friday. At a glittering but sub-zero ceremony, South and North Korea brought the crowd to its feet as they entered behind the blue-and-white Korean unification flag. South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook the hand of a smiling Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as he entered the VIP seating section, and again as the Korean athletes marched. It cemented what has been a rapid improvement in Korean ties since North Korea — after months of fierce nuclear rhetoric and missile tests — agreed last month to attend its first Olympics in the South. Kim Yo Jong, the first member of the North’s ruling dynasty to venture South since the Korean War, forms part of the highest level delegation ever to cross the border. South and North Korea last marched together at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. They also made the symbolic gesture at the opening of the 2000 and 2004 Olympics in Sydney and Athens. “You will inspire us all to live together in peace and harmony despite all the differences we have,” said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, before Moon declared the Games open. “You will inspire us by competing for the highest honour in the Olympic spirit of excellence, respect and fair play,” said Bach. “You can only… [Read full story]

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