Pence slams 'menacing' North Korea parade while promoting Trump's planned military spectacle

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South Korea, though, is hosting a Winter Games - and on Friday night an opening ceremony - attended by North Korea and the US, two countries that have threatened to destroy each other.

The Winter Olympics, which will be held in South Korea's Gangwon province in Pyeongchang, will start on February 8 and end by February 25.

Figure skater Yuna Kim, perhaps the most famous and beloved athlete in South Korea, lit the cauldron to end an Opening Ceremony that reflected the host country: modest, technically proficient and warm enough to take the edge off a bitter night.

The alternative was an Olympics "not held in a peaceful environment", said Song Min-soon, a former South Korean foreign minister and nation security adviser.

REX  Shutterstock
REX Shutterstock

Olympic athletes are apparently seeking more than just medals in PyeongChang.

Attending the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Vice President Mike Pence had harsh words for North Korea's show of military strength prior to the opening ceremonies, slamming the military parade less than 24 hours after heaping praise on President Donald Trump's desire to have his own military showcase.

It is the fourth time the two Koreas have marched together at an Olympic opening ceremony, following Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Turin 2006.

The white aircraft had Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name, inscribed in black in Korean on its side, followed by the North Korean flag. "The Korean fans support the Russian athletes", Woo added. US officials have grown increasingly dire in their warnings about the North's march toward developing an operational nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.

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"Everybody make some noise!" two pre-ceremony emcees shouted in English and Korean as spectators streamed into the Olympic Stadium before the ceremony.

The athletes' nearly hour-long parade was led by Greece in Olympic tradition followed by the other 92 teams in alphabetical order according to the Korean alphabet.

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 Games.

Its agents blew up a South Korean airliner ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics in an attempt to dissuade visitors; then it boycotted its rival's Olympic debut on the world stage.

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Despite being dubbed the "Peace Olympics", nuclear tensions continue to loom over the Korean Peninsula. It has only deepened over the years as the North closes in on the ability to field an arsenal of nukes that can hit USA cities. Norway have competed at every edition since the first in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, in 1976, with their best performance to date coming in their home Games of Lillehammer 1994, where they won 29 golds. What's certain is that these Games, more so than any in recent memory, are about far more than sports.

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