In a Rare Move; Kim Jong-un Apologizes for Killing a South Korean Official
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has apologized for the “unexpected” and “unfortunate” killing of a South Korean official this week after he drifted across the countries’ maritime border, possibly in an attempt to defect.
In a rare move, Mr. Kim told the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in a message that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened, and that he was “very sorry”.
The message also said the official had been shot as part of measures to prevent people from bringing the coronavirus into the country, the South’s national security director, Suh Hoon, said in a briefing on Friday.
Kim echoed his apologies for having Moon “disappointed”.
He also hoped the incident would not harm inter-Korean ties, which deteriorated in the summer over propaganda leafleting campaigns by North Korean defectors living in the South.
His apology could be intended to lower tensions between the two Koreas after Seoul this week condemned the official’s death as an “atrocity” and demanded that those responsible be punished.
Earlier yesterday, South Korea has said the 47-year-old man was found by troops floating in the North’s waters.
He was then shot dead and his body was set alight, according to Seoul.
The killing – the first of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade – has caused outrage in the South.
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