North Korea gets big cheers at Asian Games opening
INCHEON, South Korea - North Korea's athletes got an unexpectedly rousing welcome at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Incheon on Friday as South Korean fans put aside their bitter rivalry and cheered them warmly.
The two countries are technically still at war, and a recent spike in tensions prompted speculation about what kind of reception the North's delegation would get at the gala launch of the 17th Asiad.
The crowd in the 61,000-seat stadium bellowed their approval as the North made their way around the stadium, dressed in pristine white blazers and sharp blue trousers.
But the enthusiasm was not reciprocated – unlike other teams who beamed and took selfies, the North's athletes and officials managed only the slightest of grins as they paraded round the ground waving their flag.
The stern approach echoed the team's blank response to an athletes' village welcome ceremony on Thursday, when they looked on expressionless as a South Korean breakdance group spun and flipped to pop star Psy's hit "Gangnam Style".
And while some teams waved the hosts' flag as they entered the stadium for the opening ceremony, there was no question of the North following suit.
The North Korean flag has already proved contentious at the Games, with organizers saying they will confiscate any found on South Koreans entering any of the venues.
Officials have also removed the North's flag from the streets around venues after anti-Pyongyang activists protested about having the emblem flying amongst them. - Rappler.com
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