North Korea’s participation at the next month’s Winter Olympics will form an integral part of an opening ceremony that will highlight a key message of peace, Games organisers said on Tuesday (Jan 23).

The 2018 Winter Olympics is being held in the mountainous resort town of Pyeongchang, 80km from the heavily-fortified inter-Korean border, and kicks off with the opening ceremony on Feb 9.

Song Seung-hwan, who is serving as the executive creative director for the Pyeongchang ceremonies, said peace had been set as the main motif of the opening gala even before North Korea decided to join the Games.

“We have worked on all of our scenarios under the theme of peace,” Song, a renowned actor and producer, told a news conference in Pyeongchang.

Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee, added that the ceremonies remained largely unchanged following the North’s decision to participate, except for a joint entrance of Korean athletes under a single flag.

The opening ceremony is expected to intertwine Korean history and tradition with aspects of modern culture, such as K-pop.