S. Korean, DPRK athletes march together at Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-10 00:36:35|Editor: Zhou Xin
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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea marched together under a unified Korean flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Athletes from South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) marched together under a unified Korean flag at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics on Friday.

Dressed in long, white padded jackets, they followed the flag with a blue silhouette of the Korean Peninsula against a white background. The athletes also waved smaller unified flags, smiling in front of thousands of spectators.

The ceremony was held at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang.

It was a historic moment, marking the first walking together in 11 years of the two countries' athletes under the same flag at the opening ceremony of an international sports event.

Athletes from South Korea and the DPRK had marched together for the first time at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Summer Olympics in 2000.

Since then, scenes of reconciliation between the two Koreas were seen under liberal South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun but they disappeared over the past decade under the subsequent conservative governments of South Korea.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics marks the 10th marching together of the two Koreas under a unified flag at the opening ceremony of an international sports competition.

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.

A high-ranking DPRK delegation arrived in South Korea by private jet earlier in the day to attend the opening ceremony.

The delegation also includes Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

The four senior DPRK delegates will have a meeting and lunch with President Moon on Saturday, according to South Korea's presidential Blue House.

South Korea and the DPRK fielded a joint women's ice hockey team, the first Olympic team between the two Koreas.

In 1991, Seoul and Pyongyang had formed a joint team for an international table-tennis championship, and for a youth soccer tournament in 1991.

A South Korean and a DPRK female ice hockey player passed the Olympic flame to the final torchbearer Kim Yuna, who lit the Olympic cauldron at the main stadium. Kim is an honorary ambassador of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Olympics women's figure skating gold medalist.

The DPRK sent a 140-member art troupe for performances in Gangneung, an eastern city near PyeongChang, on Thursday and in capital Seoul on Sunday.

A DPRK taekwondo demonstration team has also come to demonstrate the traditional Korean martial art during the Winter Olympics.

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KEY WORDS: Winter Olympics