In a spectacle that featured a rhythmic drum dance, projections of fish and animals coming to life and a boat symbolically powered by the equipment used in Paralympic games, a record 567 athletes paraded into the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium to officially commence the 10-day festival that runs through March 18.
The show of division came on the same day that President Donald Trump announced that he agreed to meet face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Vitaliy Lukyanenko took the gold in the men's biathlon 7.5 km sprint for the visually impaired.More news: Barbershop study trimmed black men's hair and blood pressure (copy)
Unlike at last month's Olympics, where North and South Korean athletes walked under one united flag, the two countries could not strike a similar arrangement for the Paralympics opening ceremony. There are 20 athletes in Ukraine's team among the over 570 athletes who expected to compete at the Paralympics this year.
The 26-year-old former World Championship silver medallist had his leg amputated in Afghanistan eight years ago while serving with the British Army.
The nation will contest every sport except curling, with a total of 38 Japanese athletes competing in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, biathlon, para ice hockey and snowboarding.
Parsons has defended the decision to allow Russians to take part-they were banned entirely at the Rio 2016 Paralympics-insisting those competing are "as clean as any others" at the Games.More news: Uber driver arrested after molestation attempt on Delhi woman
The IPC offered the two nations' paralympic committees a similar arrangement to their Olympic counterparts, but they couldn't see eye-to-eye over the depiction of Korea on the unification flag. In a way, it also celebrates the courage and conviction of the differently-abled athletes to keep their flame of athletics going on.
South Korean diplomats visited North Korea earlier in the week, before heading to Washington D.C.to debrief the White House.
Marie Bochet and Benjamin Daviet clinched France's first golds, in women's standing downhill skiing and men's standing biathlon respectively.More news: Probation for student who rubbed tampon blood on Jamaican's bag