S. Korean, DPRK athletes march together as Winter Olympics opens

Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sibling arrives at Incheon airport west of Seoul

The Winter Olympics was declared officially open by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach today - here are some of the highlights from the spectacular ceremony in Pyeongchang.

Relations between North Korea and the United States have worsened over the past year as the country develops its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The two sides have come a long way since Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988, where North Korea refused to attend and bombed a Korean Air flight in the months before the Games in an attempt to scare the worldwide community. It was the rivals' first joint Olympic march since 2007.

The ceremony's signature moment delivered another flash of unity and deft political stage-managing, too. She is the first member of the Kim family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953. There is also the argument that in the event of a USA strike, Pyongyang would not attack the United States per say but unleash nuclear weapons against the next best thing - South Korean, Japanese or U.S. military bases in the region.

"We are all touched by this wonderful gesture".

Message of peace in PyeongChang.

But there haven't been any more reports of folks flying to one of the most repressive regimes on earth when they meant to go to South Korea either, so there's that.

While the appearance of the two faux politicians was in good jest, the opening ceremony was troubled by another, more worrying intruder who attempted to accost two performers.

Pence's absence undid some careful organizing, according to a seating diagram provided by a South Korean government source and protocol experts.

"The North Koreans, also including Choe Hwi, chairman of the country's National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North's agency that deals with inter- Korean affairs a" then moved down a floor on an escalator to board a high-speed train to Pyeongchang.

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The children then appeared onstage with an animatronic tiger, with their performance culminating with the singing of the South Korean anthem.

Though this is not the first time athletes from the two countries have entered the Olympics together, it would take an extraordinary sporting feat to usurp the Koreans' march as the predominant moment of these Games.

When North and South Korean athletes jointly marched into the stadium under a unified Korean flag, Kim, wearing a black coat, waved with Moon before shaking hands again as they stood together with the other delegates from Pyongyang. The North Koreans, dressed in identical garb, cheered in careful coordination.

The North has sent almost 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games including officials, athletes, artists and cheerleaders after the Koreas agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures to mark the event.

A flame is lit, and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Pyeongchang was not supposed to share the spotlight with Pyongyang. North Korean TV only aired delayed footage when it usually broadcasts it live, perhaps an attempt to keep the parade low key.

The U.S. team: 242.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in described these Games as a "festival and celebration of peace", and the competition's curtain-raiser certainly set the tone.

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