Reuters has been barred from the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea after it published photos of an under-wraps rehearsal.

The global news service filed photos of the ceremony's 'big reveal' moment when the torch-shaped cauldron at the Olympic Main Stadium in PyeongChang is lit with flames during a dry run on Sunday night (28 January).

The agency, which supplies reports and images to news organisations around the world, pulled the pictures saying it had been sent to clients "by mistake" after complaints from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the South Korean organisers.

But the IOC still "disapproved the issuing of passes towards Reuters in reporting and photographing the opening ceremony", the South Korean Olympics organising committee told local news service Yonhap News.

The IOC also revoked the media pass of the erring photographer. The opening ceremony will be held on Friday 9 February and the closing ceremony on Sunday 25 February at the PyeongChang Stadium, which has 35,000-capacity.

North and South Korea have agreed to field a joint women's ice hockey team and have their athletes parade together under the unification flag during the opening ceremony, which features the entire peninsula and surrounding islands in blue on a white background.

It is the clearest sign of a thaw in hostilities between the two countries, coming after more than two years of high-level talks and several nuclear tests by the North last year, which escalated tensions across the region.