The opening ceremony, titled "Peace in Motion", begins at 8 p.m. local time, 6 a.m. ET. Had the U.S. refrained from such an announcement, it could conceivably have paved the way for some sort of contact with North Korea at the Olympics, seeing how physically close the two sides will be in the Pyeongchang arena. NBC said a full Total Audience Delivery for the games will be released later in the day.
Japan's speed skaters are among the athletes who decided it was too cold to courageous the open-air ceremony, while organisers handed out heat packs, blankets and hats to keep spectators warm.
Analysts say the North's decision to send her 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.
Few details have been released about the show.
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The spectacular opening ceremony drew on themes of peace, harmony and unity.
"Last time I was captain, and this time I am very happy to be given an important role again as flagbearer", Kasai said ahead of the ceremony. "The stage will unfold like a winter fairytale depicting the children's adventure". Later on, two athletes from the joint Korean women's hockey team handed off the Olympic torch to former Olympic figure skater Yuna Kim, arguably the most famous person in South Korea, according to the AP.
The sister of North Korean leader and North Korea's ceremonial head of state attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony behind Vice President Mike Pence in South Korea, Feb. 9, 2018.
All eyes settled on the rival Koreas, who marched together under a "Korean Unification" flag a day after the North staged a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army.
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However, some individual Russian athletes will be allowed to participate in the Games by competing under a neutral Olympic flag. Despite the ban, 168 "Olympic Athletes from Russia" will compete in Pyeongchang.
Nigeria and Eritrea will enter uncharted territory as they make their debuts at the Games, with South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Madagascar and Togo and Kenya being the other Africa nations in PyeongChang.
"Samsung Electronics delivered over 4,000 Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games Limited Edition - a special edition of Galaxy Note8 - to the IOC and Pyeongchang Organizing Committee". North Korea has given no indication that it has halted, or even slowed, its pursuit of nuclear weapons despite outward signs of new co-operation with South Korea.
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