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Despite Hockey Team's Loss, Korean Fans Say 'We Are One' at Olympics

  • VOA News

North Korea fans, top, wave Korean unification flags as players of a combined Koreas team gather at the end of a women's hockey game against Switzerland, at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 10, 2018.

A combined Korean women's hockey team took to the ice Saturday for the first time in Olympic history, and although Switzerland shut the Koreans out 8-0, the historical significance of the game was not lost.

After the game, played before a sellout crowd at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea,, fans displayed a large banner that read "We are one," and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach joined Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and other dignitaries for photos with the team.

The presence at the contest of Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam, who is North Korea's ceremonial head of state, was a sign that the Olympics have thawed relations between Koreas, which are still technically at war.

The two Koreas marched as one at Friday's opening ceremony, which also was attended by Kim Yo Jong, who sat closely behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam have invited Moon to visit Pyongyang for inter-Korean talks. If Moon accepts, it would be the third round of such talks since their division in 1945.

Earlier this week, the U.S. announced plans to impose its most stringent sanctions yet against North Korea, which held a large military parade featuring intercontinental ballistic missiles just one day before the games began.