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frozenmail.net February 19, 2018


Koreas Share Historic Handshake at Olympic Opening Ceremony

10 February 2018, 10:28 | Christie Tate

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Athletes walked in to the universally familiar beat of South Korean pop song Gangnam Style and snowboarders in glowing costumes ripped down a mountain while a formation of lighted drones assembled an aerial Olympic ring.

The sister of the North Korean leader has arrived in South Korea, dressed in a black coat and absorbing a barrage of camera flashes.

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".

When athletes from North and South Korea entered together, the background music was the traditional folk song "Arirang".

It is the first time a member of the ruling dynasty has visited the South since 1953, when an armistice ended fighting in the Korean war.

Many in Seoul, however, while interested in the warming high-level contacts, are also tempering expectations for a real breakthrough.

How will the United States react? Without US engagement with North Korea, Pyongyang at some point in the future could trade the products of its nuclear and missile programs with other rogue states, such as Iran, or with terrorist groups such as Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS), in order to obtain hard currency.

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Her presence overshadowed the nominal head of the delegation, Kim Yong Nam, the aging head of the North Korean Parliament.

The run-up to the event has been marked by the competing agendas of the nations whose athletes will be battling each other on the snow and ice. Pence fired off a tweet calling the North's participation in the Games a "propaganda charade" and saying the world must not "turn a blind eye to the oppression and threats of the Kim regime".

What will South Korea ask for?

"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.

The vice president and North Koreans are not expected to interact Saturday during events in Pyeongchang, according to a second USA official.

Mr Moon's office said the two Koreas "shared an understanding that they should continue the positive mood for peace and recognition" from the Olympic Games. There have been some such meetings in the past, but they are rare.

Kim Yo-jong and her delegation were greeted by government officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon, before boarding a bullet train to Pyeongchang. The games are seen as a pivotal moment for relations between the two countries, who have been officially at war since 1950.



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