Historic handshake between Korean leaders highlights Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony

Historic handshake between Korean leaders highlights Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony

Moon shook hands with both Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam at the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, and they cheered as athletes from North and South entered the arena together behind a unification flag showing an unbroken Korean peninsula.

The meeting came a day after the delegation met South Korean President Moon Jae-in and delivered the North Korean leader's invitation for Moon to visit Pyongyang, the Yonhap news agency reported.

She is the first immediate family member of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung to ever set foot in the South.

"What the president said exactly is let's create the right circumstances to make it happen", Yoon said in a statement.

The South Korean president also stressed the need for the communist North to resume its dialogue with the United States.

North and South Korea agreed to form a joint female ice hockey team for the 2018 Winter Olympics and to march together at the opening ceremony under a "Korean Peninsula flag", according to a joint statement from the countries released last month. It was only at the start of this year, and after many additional rounds of sanctions, that Kim Jong-un finally accepted the olive branch.

The proposal was announced in a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong.


The Games has seen better ties between the two Koreas despite tensions over the North's nuclear programme.

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

But Moon has also said that he would be willing to meet Kim only if he received assurances from the North that it would help resolve the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons program. United States Vice-President Mike Pence was also present and led the U.S. delegation.

"On a political level in Seoul, there is no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea", Mattis said, echoing comments made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

At a dinner later on, Kim Yo Jong said she didn't feel like a stranger in South Korea even though it was her first visit.

He also warned that Seoul's ready acceptance of Pyongyang's overtures could damage its alliance with the US.

Pence's cold demeanor toward the North Koreans at the Pyeongchang games was overshadowed by friendly cooperation between the North and South.

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