"Unlike the United States, we do not engage in dirty and messy acts to abuse sports events like the Olympics for political purposes", the newspaper said in an article attributed to an unnamed writer.
But the overture by the North also risked driving a wedge between South Korea and the United States, its main military ally, which has been campaigning for "maximum sanctions and pressure" against North Korea. Not everybody was so taken by the show of Korean unity, with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence remaining seated as the North and South Koreans entered the stadium.
Team Switzerland and Team Korea after their Women's Ice Hockey preliminary round - game at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on Saturday. Almost 200 female members of the North Korean cheerleading regime - a handpicked group created to be an appealing propaganda arm of the ruling party - chanted and sang (and did the wave on several occasions) while other fans clapped along in between Switzerland's offensive barrages. Switzerland defeated Korea 8-0. The "more" would include undercover intelligence officers under the guise of "support staff" and other titles, a former North Korean police officer says.
Unification, too, isn't quite as clear-cut an issue as it might appear on the flag this Korean team is using (a white background with a rendering of an undivided peninsula in blue). "I was standing and I think the whole team felt very much welcome and this welcome does not depend on who stands and who does not stand", Bach said.
The overwhelming feeling here on Saturday, though, was one of unity. "This team could be very important to what happens here". Asia experts said Pence's sour conduct toward the North Koreans could be seen as disrespectful to the South Korean hosts, who were demonstrating a moment of harmony with the North.
That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.
"We try not to add more stress than there needs to be", Murray said.
The first member of the North's ruling dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953, Kim on Saturday made headlines across the globe when she delivered an invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea.
Moon and Bach offered messages of encouragement, imploring the players to move beyond the results and understand the meaning of what they were doing. "We know this is more than just a game".