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Focus on North Korea as the Winter Paralympics starts

media Members of Team North Korea at the Opening Ceremony for Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics OIS/IOC/Simon Bruty/Handout via Reuters

Athletes from North Korea were centre stage as the biggest Winter Paralympic Games in history opened in South Korea.

A now typically glamorous ceremony featuring spectacular lighting and fireworks took place as the world's takes in the news that United States President Donald Trump has agreed to meet the leader of the North, Kim Jong-un.

A record 567 athletes from 48 countries will battle for 80 Paralympic medals in six different sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, para-ice hockey, wheelchair curling and the nordic skiing disciplines of cross-country and biathlon.

North Korea are making a winter paras debut, with two athletes in cross country skiing but, unlike at the Winter Olympics, where North and South Korean athletes marched at the opening ceremony under a unified flag, the two nations were separate for today’s showpiece.

The thawing, meanwhile, in American and North Korean relations is quite a turnaround from last year, when Pyongyang tested missiles that could reach the US mainland and detonated what it said was an H-bomb, sparking fury from Trump who threatened to "completely destroy" Kim's nation.

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