The 18th edition of the Asian Games officially kicked off on Saturday as the opening ceremony of the Games took place at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, with a dazzling display of lights, colors and fireworks.
The loudest cheers during the countries’ parade were reserved for the contingent of the host Indonesia while the united Korean contingent also drew a lot of noise.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and North Korean Deputy Prime Minister Ri Ryong-nam could be seen clutching hands in the VIP seats as they raised their arms aloft to greet the team.
Following the countries march, the Indonesian pop star Via Vallen came on the stage to perform the official theme song of the Games, Meraih Bintang.
The President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah then delivered his speech, at the end of which he requested the Indonesian president to declare the Games open.
"You can feel proud of your home country Indonesia," said the OCA president, before Joko Widodo made the announcement of the Games opening which triggered a volley of fireworks.
About 18,000 athletes and officials from 45 Asian countries will attend the Asiad, organizers said, looking to make their mark across a range of sports from swimming to sepak takraw and bridge.
The Asian Games encompass nearly the full Olympic program and are considered the pinnacle by many participating nations, for whom Olympic success often proves elusive.