PyeongChang 2018 kicks off with two Koreas united

World Today

The 2018 Winter Olympics have officially kicked off in PyeongChang, South Korea. The opening ceremony on Friday was watched by millions around the world. But many also have their eyes on the politics at the Games, including a historic handshake.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg has more.

The Olympic Games are all about coming together. And indeed, on Friday, a moment of historic unity was on display for the world to see. This, as athletes from the two Koreas marched together in the opening ceremony, under one flag.

In the stands, world leaders watched on: South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, seated with his wife, and behind them, Kim Yo Jong—the sister of Kim Jong Un, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

President Moon and Ms. Kim did shake hands in the stands. Just a few seats away, the American Vice President Mike Pence took no notice.

Amid the freezing cold, there was no sign of those relations warming up, with Washington and Pyongyang ruling out direct talks on the sidelines. But there were Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un impersonators who gave spectators some hope.

South Korean officials have confirmed that Moon and Ms. Kim will have lunch together on Saturday, in what will mark the highest-level contact between the two sides in years.

Before the ceremony Moon also met with Pence, and, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The U.S. has called it an “iron-clad alliance.” But Tokyo has warned Seoul against falling for what it has called Pyongyang’s ‘charm offensive.’

Politics is always a part of the Games. And this year has proved no different. For his part, Mike Pence chose to meet with DPRK defectors. He was accompanied by the father of Otto Warmbier, the American who returned to the U.S. in a coma – and then died – shortly after being released from DPRK custody.

Arthur Dong on US relations with the Korean Peninsula amid Winter Olympics

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tries to blunt the DPRK’s charm offensive, as the two Koreas show some unity at the Winter Olympics. To discuss that and more, CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Arthur Dong from Georgetown University, a professor in the McDonough School of Business.

Images from the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang