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South Korea brings curtain down on ‘Peace Games’

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – South Korea introduced the curtain down on its “Peace Games” on Sunday, with winter sports activities athletes dancing and singing collectively at a vibrant closing ceremony, although there was little heat between dignitaries from the United States and North Korea.

South Korea President Moon Jae-in, who hopes to make use of these Games as a chance to interact with the North, warmly greeted U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka earlier than providing a short handshake to North Korean delegation chief Kim Yong Chol.

Despite the cool physique language, Moon’s efforts could also be bearing fruit. The South’s presidential workplace mentioned on Sunday that members of the North Korean delegation had expressed the North’s openness to talks with the United States.

Trump sat entrance and middle, beside Moon’s spouse, whereas North Korea’s Kim was seated a row behind, decked out in an extended black jacket and furry hat. Sitting two seats alongside from him was General Vincent Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

Kim’s look on the closing ceremony has been greeted with outrage by some in South Korea. The former North Korean intelligence chief is accused of getting been behind a lethal 2010 assault on a South Korean warship.

South Korean protesters tried to dam Kim’s motorcade to the closing ceremony earlier within the day.

Despite the divisions and mistrust between the 2 Koreas, they agreed to have their athletes march collectively at each the opening and shutting ceremonies underneath a banner of unification. They additionally fielded a unified ladies’s ice hockey staff.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Closing ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium – Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 25, 2018 – General view of the torch after it’s extinguished and fireworks in the course of the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Florian Choblet/Pool

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid tribute to the athletes, saying they have been an instance to the world.

”You have proven how sport brings folks collectively in our fragile world; you may have proven how sport builds bridges,“ he said. ”The IOC will proceed this Olympic dialogue, even after we extinguish the Olympic flame.

“In this, we are driven by our faith in the future.”

During his speech, Bach invited a number of athletes to affix him on stage, together with South Korea’s gold medalist skeleton rider Yun Sung-bin, North Korean determine skater Ryom Tae Ok, American skier Lindsey Vonn and Tongan flag service Pita Taufatofua.

Bach signed off by calling upon the youth of the world to assemble in Beijing in 4 years’ time for the 2022 Winter Games.

With the ceremony showcasing cutting-edge South Korean know-how and a exceptional drone present that dotted out the picture of the Games mascot Soohorang, a white tiger, within the evening sky, athletes marched into the stadium, many carrying their medals.

The Russian flag, absent on the opening ceremony, was once more nowhere to be seen after the IOC determined to not elevate the suspension on their nation.

It was a bitter-sweet day for Russian athletes, who after savoring the excessive of profitable a nail-biting males’s ice hockey remaining on Sunday then needed to march with out their flag.

Russians have been pressured to compete as impartial athletes at Pyeongchang, an IOC punishment for years of drug scandals involving allegations that Russia ran a scientific, state-backed drug-cheating program.

Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Mark Bendeich

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