The South Korean prime minister was in the Greek capital Athens on Monday as part of a visit that would see the Olympic flame being ignited in Olympia ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Lee Nak-yeon laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Syntagma Square on the morning, before meeting his counterpart Alexis Tsipras, as seen in photographs released by epa.

The flame is to be ignited on Tuesday in a symbolic act ahead of the Games set to take place in Feb. 2018 in the northern South Korean country of PyeongChang, at a time of escalated tension with North Korea.

Various high-profile officials would attend the torch-lighting event, including Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach.

Greek actress Katerina Lehou meanwhile was set to reprise her role as high priestess during the ceremony _ as she had done for Rio 2016 _ and would pass the flame onto the first torchbearer; Greek cross-country ski champion Apostolos Angelis.

South Korean former soccer player Park Ji-sung, who played for Manchester United, would become the second torchbearer, as the flame is sent on a week-long tour of the European nation before being flown to South Korea on Nov. 1 _ exactly 100 days before the Games start.

The torch will pass through the hands of some 7,500 torchbearers during the traditional relay, which will cover a distance of 2,018 kilometers (1,253 miles).

The IOC had considered sending the torch through North Korea after it participated in its transport for the 2008 Beijing Games, but the proposal was ruled out over diplomatic tension between the two Koreas.

Faced with military development and ballistic missile tests being carried out by its northern neighbor, South Korea is preparing to boost security measures for the Games, with big players in winter sports like France and Austria having threatened not to attend if the security of their athletes cannot be guaranteed.

South Korea will host its second Olympic Games from Feb. 9-25, after the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.