Rio 2016 Olympics
Lee Eun-Ju of South Korea, right, takes a selfie with Hong Un Jong of North Korea Dylan Martinez/ Reuters

North and South Korea gymnasts competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have taken an iconic selfie together in a rare show of unity between the two countries. Lee Eun Ju of South Korea held up a two-fingered symbol of peace as she posed with her competitor Hong Un Jong of North Korea.

The pair were also seen chatting and laughing together as they prepared to compete in the qualification for the artistic women's gymnastics.

The picture between the two has been widely praised as capturing the peace and unity of the Olympic spirit. Their home countries are technically still at war with each other and have been embroiled in a bitter feud since their split following the end of the Second World War.

Political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted: "This is why we do the Olympics."

Lee, 17, is competing in her first Olympics while Hong, 27, took home gold in the vault at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Not every country in the Games has extended the same hand of friendship, however. It emerged on the weekend Serbian athletes had been reportedly told not to share medal stands with Olympians from Kosovo.

Serbian sports minister Vanja Udovicic said the order was only "a recommendation" and that any boycott was up to the individual athletes. He added that the situation was "complex" as his country had not officially recognised Kosovo as an independent state.

Kosovo is competing in its first Olympics since it split from Serbia in 2008, with the country winning its first medal – a gold in the women's judo – on Sunday (7 August). There are six other Kosovo athletes competing in the games, with only two events shared with Serbians.

Bitter feuds in the Middle East also played out in Brazil with Lebanese athletes allegedly refusing to share the same bus with their Israeli competitors in the hours before the opening ceremony on Friday. The two countries are technically at war with each other and have no official diplomatic relations.

Udi Gal, a member of Israel's Olympic sailing team, said in a post on Facebook the two teams travelled separately to "prevent an international incident".

He added: "How is it possible that they let something like this happen and on the opening night of the Olympic Games? Isn't this the opposite of what the Olympics represent and work against it?"