HEADLINE North and South Korea march separately into the Paralympic opening ceremony

HEADLINE

North and South Korea march separately into the Paralympic opening ceremony

By Zhu Yingqi | People's Daily app

23:01, March 09, 2018

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The 10-day PyeongChang Paralympics kicked off on Friday, but unlike at the Olympics, athletes from North and South Korea did not march together under a Korean Peninsula flag at the opening ceremony.

Athletes from the host country South Korea paraded last among 49 participating countries, while North Korea, making its Winter Paralympics debut, marched 34th behind Japan.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) offered two special spots to North Korean Nordic skiers to participate, due to North Korea’s first participation in the Winter Paralympics.

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The two Koreas originally planned to march together under a unified Korean flag, but decided to join the march separately after both sides failed to narrow differences over the flag.

The North wanted a flag that includes the disputed islands Dokdo, while the South wanted to have the flag without Dokdo to respect the IPC's recommendation not to politicize sporting events.

Dokdo, called Takeshima in Japan, consists of a set of rocky islets lying close to the Korean Peninsula in the East Sea.

It is administered by South Korea, but its sovereignty is contested by Japan. North Korea also insists that Dokdo islands are Korean territory.

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The Chinese delegation for the Paralympics is made up of more than 60 members, including 26 athletes who will compete in 30 events in five different sports.

Cross-country skier Peng Yuanyuan carried the Chinese national flag at the opening ceremony.

This is China's largest delegation with the largest number of athletes for the Winter Paralympics since China started participating it in 2002.

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