North Korea in focus as biggest Paralympics opens

Adjust Comment Print

It is quite a turnaround from previous year, when Pyongyang tested missiles that could reach the United States mainland and detonated what it said was an H-bomb, sparking fury from Trump who threatened to "completely destroy" the North.

Despite the rift, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the North Koreans were cheered when they entered the arena at the Paralympics opening ceremony on Friday.

Last month, the world witnessed a positive sign of peace between North Korea and South Korea when their Olympic teams paraded together under the Korean unification flag at the opening ceremony in PyeongChang.

This is the largest Winter Paralympics ever, with 567 athletes from 48 countries plus a team of neutral Paralympic athletes from Russian Federation.

He told the Paralympians to keep fighting, play fair, have fun, and keep pushing their limits.

Countries are competing for 80 medals in these Winter Games, in six key categories: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling.

Andrew Kurka competes in the men's slalom sitting LW12-1 at the Winter Games New Zealand on August 24, 2015 in Queenstown, New Zealand.

A record 48 countries are taking part in the Games. The games run until March 18.

South Korean diplomats visited North Korea earlier in the week, before heading to Washington debrief the White House.

American Daniel Cnossen, a former US Navy Seal, took gold in the men's sit ski. Thirty athletes, who have met strict conditions, were approved by the International Paralympic Committee to compete as Neutral Paralympic Athletes in Pyeongchang.

The first events will take place Saturday, with athletes competing in downhill skiing and biathlon.

A cheery mood coursed through festivities that lacked the tension of the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, when Ukraine sent only its flag-bearer to the opening ceremony to protest Russia's intervention in the Crimean Peninsula, or the undertones of the 2016 Rio Paralympics, which were stained by financial turmoil and meager ticket sales.