Koreas share historic handshake at Olympic opening ceremony

AP

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  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap via AP)

  • 1

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, bottom right, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. At right is Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state. (Park Dong-ju/Yonhap via AP)

  • 2

    United States Vice President Mike Pence, right, remains seated as South Korean President Moon Jae-in, front left, first lady Kim Jung-sook, Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old president of the Presidium of the North's Parliament, second from left in the back, and Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, right, react when the combined team came in during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 3

    Vice President Mike Pence, bottom, watches the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yo Jong, top right, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, second from right. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 4

    Vice President Mike Pence, bottom right, speaks with second lady Karen Pence at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yong Nam, second from top right, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 5

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, stands alongside first lady Kim Jung-sook, U.S. second lady Karen Pence and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as the South Korean national anthem is played at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Standing at top left is Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 6

    Vice President Mike Pence, second from bottom right, sits between second lady Karen Pence, third from from bottom left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yong Nam, third from top right, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, second from top right, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 7

    Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old president of the Presidium of the North's Parliament, third from left in the back and Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, center, observe with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, front left, first lady Kim Jung-sook and second lady Karen Pence, and United States Vice President Mike Pence during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 8

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from bottom right, stands alongside first lady Kim Jung-sook as the South Korean national anthem is played at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Standing at top left is Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap via AP)

  • 1

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, bottom right, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. At right is Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state. (Park Dong-ju/Yonhap via AP)

  • 2

    United States Vice President Mike Pence, right, remains seated as South Korean President Moon Jae-in, front left, first lady Kim Jung-sook, Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old president of the Presidium of the North's Parliament, second from left in the back, and Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, right, react when the combined team came in during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 3

    Vice President Mike Pence, bottom, watches the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yo Jong, top right, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, second from right. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 4

    Vice President Mike Pence, bottom right, speaks with second lady Karen Pence at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yong Nam, second from top right, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 5

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, stands alongside first lady Kim Jung-sook, U.S. second lady Karen Pence and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as the South Korean national anthem is played at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Standing at top left is Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 6

    Vice President Mike Pence, second from bottom right, sits between second lady Karen Pence, third from from bottom left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yong Nam, third from top right, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, second from top right, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

  • 7

    Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old president of the Presidium of the North's Parliament, third from left in the back and Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, center, observe with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, front left, first lady Kim Jung-sook and second lady Karen Pence, and United States Vice President Mike Pence during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 8

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from bottom right, stands alongside first lady Kim Jung-sook as the South Korean national anthem is played at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Standing at top left is Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) It was a historic moment, and it happened even before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had officially begun.

As South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife greeted VIPs in their dignitary box to watch the opening ceremony, they turned to shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister, who arrived earlier in the day on an unprecedented visit to the South by a member of the North's ruling Kim family.

All broke out in broad smiles.

Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, was at the opening ceremony with North Korea's nominal head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam. They are part of an extraordinary diplomatic push by the North aimed at using the Olympics to ease tensions with Seoul and bolster unity between the two Koreas after a year that has been marked by escalating fears of war and increasing angry rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.

As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly. It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife arrived after the handshakes. They were seated beside the Moons and next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife. His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans.

The Moons, Nam and Kim all stood again as athletes from both Koreas marched together behind a blue-and-white "unification" flag for the first time since 2007. There was another handshake.

The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team's entrance. During the parade of nations, they stood only for the U.S. team.

       

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