The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony got under way in freezing temperatures and a spirit of rapprochement on Friday after the arrival of the highest level North Korean delegation ever seen in the South.

Fireworks go on outside the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018 .( AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon)

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium – Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 9, 2018 – The flag of Poland is paraded during the opening ceremony. (REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski)

Fireworks lit up the sky over the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, where North Korea’s all-female cheering squad were among the crowd, as the gala event started.

Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was among the VIPs expected to attend after she became the first member of the ruling Kim dynasty to venture South since the Korean War.

The Olympics rings during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / François-Xavier)

TOPSHOT – North Korean cheerleaders wave ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Roberto SCHMIDTROBERTO SCHMIDT

South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, US Vice-President Mike Pence and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, were also expected to attend the opening, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

View during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / François-Xavier MARIT)

After a sudden thaw in ties — following months of rising tensions and North Korean missile tests — South and North Korean athletes will march together at the ceremony, behind the blue-and-white Korean unification flag.

View during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / François-Xavier MARIT)

Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)

Russian athletes will march under a neutral flag after the Russian team was banned from the Games over systemic doping — although 168 Russians deemed to be clean of drug use have been allowed to take part. – AFP

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