PYEONGCHANG — In a wonderfully intimate little stadium, the long and bitterly divided Koreas fleetingly united in the name of the Olympic Games Friday night.
A handful of athletes from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – like many communist countries of old with similar names, it is anything but democratic – marched under the unification flag with the much larger contingent from the genuine Republic of South Korea, all of them dressed in white and practically jumping out of their skins with excitement.
Watching them from up in the VIP section was South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un and the first member of the North’s ruling family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953 — and Mike Pence, the vice-president of the United States, who was accompanied by his wife, Karen, and thus in a “safe space”, protected from local temptresses attempting to woo him to lunch.
There was even an appearance by a Donald Trump fake, a fellow wearing a Trump disguise, who caused a brief stir and near-stampede in the press section of the stands.
The real article, of course, has been famously engaged in a war of words with Kim, who for his part has been testing his nukes and missiles with abandon, and who for good measure held a huge military parade far ahead of its regular scheduled date just this week.
It was the first time in 11 years, since the Asian Winter Games, that athletes from the two Koreas have marched under a single flag.
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 09: The North Korea and South Korea Olympic teams enter together under the Korean Unification Flag during the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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The North Korea and South Korea Olympic teams enter together under the Korean Unification Flag during the Parade of Athletes at the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
But if the prospects for peace last no longer than the 16 days of the Pyeongchang Games, they nonetheless made for a powerful and touching symbol of possibility, of what might …read more