Winter Olympics 2018: Pope Francis lauds move of two Koreas marching together in opening ceremony

Vatican City: Pope Francis on Wednesday praised as a gesture for a "better world" plans for a joint parade Friday by delegations from South and North Korea to open the Winter Olympics.

"The traditional Olympic truce this year takes on special importance," the pontiff said at his weekly general audience.

Pyeongchang 2018 Organising Committee President Lee Hee-Beom (C top) poses with players from South Korea (white) and North Korea (red) after the IIHF women's world ice hockey championships. AFP

Pyeongchang 2018 Organising Committee President Lee Hee-Beom poses with players from South Korea (white) and North Korea (red). AFP

"This gives us hope of a better world where conflicts are resolved peacefully through dialogue and mutual respect, as sport also teaches us."

The delegations from both Koreas – technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice with neither side victorious – will parade together wearing the same costumes and under a sole flag at Friday's ceremony to open the Games in the southern city of Pyeongchang.

North Korea has sent 22 athletes in all, including 12 on a united women's ice hockey team, to Pyeongchang, which lies just 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the border.

The South says it aims to host "Games of Peace" rising above more than six decades of political tensions between the two Koreas.

Updated Date: Feb 07, 2018 19:36 PM

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