North and South Korea marched together under one flag at the Olympics

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong a sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the opening ceremony of the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympic Games in the city located some 180 kilometers east of Seoul on Feb. 9

The fallout of the Sochi 2014 doping scandal continued all the way up to Friday's opening ceremony and has dogged Bach's presidency, but the majority of the 168 Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation, who could not display their national flag, slipped into the stadium relatively unnoticed.

Pence is leading the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies, where he has worked to pour cold water on warming ties between the two Koreas.

Julian Zhi Jie Yee of Malaysia carries the national flag.

The host nation's stance on welcoming their neighbours from the north to this year's Winter Games was hailed by the IOC as the embodiment of the Olympic spirit.

More than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries will compete in the Pyeongchang Games, making it the biggest Winter Olympics to date.

Some details of the opening ceremony remain closely guarded secrets, but expect a celebration of Korean culture and history.

Security around the North Koreans is tight.

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Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the the USA delegation, was among 12 leaders invited to sit at the head table, where he was expected to sit across from Kim Yong Nam, the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and representative from North Korea.

To finish off, Yuna Kim, the South Korean figure skater who won gold at Vancouver 2010 and silver at Sochi 2014, lit the Olympic cauldron.

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.

But the ceremony was also as much about the diplomacy off-stage and off the television screens, with a high-ranking North Korean delegation led by Kim Yo Jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong Un, among those present. She has become the first immediate family member of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung to ever set foot in the South.

A summit now would risk driving a wedge in the alliance between South Korea and the USA, which has sought to maximize pressure on North Korea to pressure Kim into giving up his nuclear weapons.

The North's taekwondo team arrived in the South on Wednesday.

Analysts say the North's decision Kim Yo Jong to the Olympics shows an ambition to break out from diplomatic isolation and pressure by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.


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