At the last moment, though, they handed off the flame to former Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim, arguably South Korea's most famous person.
Just prior to sitting down, Kim Yo Jong shook hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in, a historic event for the two countries.
The ceremony began with a light show of white, red and blue - the colors of the South Korean flag - and moved into a tightly choreographed performance, according to NBC News.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the U.S. delegation at the Games, warned that North Korea would put on a "charm offensive", and met with North Korean defectors to highlight the regime's human rights abuses.
South Korean officials declined specific comment.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea-Pyeongchang Olympic organizers are investigating a possible attack on their internet and Wi-Fi systems that took place about 45 minutes before the opening ceremony.
The team was created by adding 12 DPRK players to the existing South Korea's squad of 23 players.
Meanwhile, just a block from the Olympic Stadium a few dozen protestors raged against the neighbors' presence at the Games, tearing up a North Korean flag.
The stakes were high, given Kim Jong-un's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The downside for Washington is that it could expose growing differences with Seoul on the best way to deal with North Korea and achieve the ultimate goal of denuclearization.
"We wanted to show the alliance seated together", the official said.
And so, with a little help from a liberal South Korean president eager to engage Pyongyang, the 2018 Pyeongchang Games open. Very very important persons are typically heads of state, and the idea is to avoid unexpected encounters.
However, Trump said he was misquoted later and claimed he had said "I'd probably" instead of "I probably". "They probably worked that out so there's no intersection at arrivals". "I think they were nervous", Murray said.
The actual Trump and Kim are not as friendly in real life.
The Korean women's hockey team, the first in Olympic history to combine players from North and South, was routed 8-0 by Switzerland on Saturday night in its debut game, outshot 52-8 in a matchup that could have been far worse if not for the goaltending of Shin So Jung.