South Korea which hosts the Winter Olympic 2018 opening event have produced a show of unity with neighbors North Korea during the opening ceremony, with athletes entering together under one flag.
The two Korea’s participants marched into the stadium together in Pyeongchang near the fortified border, offering hope of a breakthrough in a tense, geopolitical standoff that has stirred fears of nuclear conflict.
“We are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us,” declared Olympic president Thomas Bach. It’s such a diplomatic high point for both North and South Korea that the younger sister of Kim Jong-un landed on South Korean soil—the first member of ruling family to visit since the Korean war. The pariah state’s leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, sat just meters away from US vice-president Mike Pence.
The Olympics officials have welcomed North Korea with open arms. Also present was the father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was jailed in North Korea last year, returned home in a coma and died shortly afterward.
The reactions on social media were mixed ranging anywhere between thrill, disgust and joy that North and South agreed to enter together.
North Korea is also keen to make sure that there is no opportunity for defection at the Olympics, either. Athletes, officials, performers, and reporters visiting South Korea will be surrounded by vetted members of North Korea’s elite, who will act as minders and informants.
The ‘wow moments’ in the ceremony included the formation of the Olympic Rings made up of 1,218 drones – a Guinness World Record for drones used in a performance – and 100 skiers.
There was also ‘the vision of peace in the sky’ which was a constellation inside the arena, while ‘the balance of yin and yang’ saw Korean drummers perform in unison before forming the South Korea flag.