Conflicts & War

North Korea apologizes for killing South Korean official

Seoul, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apologized after his army shot and killed a South Korean official near the maritime border between the two countries, Seoul officials said Friday.

Pyongyang said in a formal notification that Kim is “very sorry” for greatly “disappointing” his southern counterpart president Moon Jae-in and other South Koreans over the “unsavory” incident, Suh Hoon, director of national security at the presidential office, said at a press conference.

North Korea also said it had carried out an investigation into the case which found the official had crossed the border without permission and did not adequately respond to verbal security checks.

Northern troops fired two blanks and then more than 10 gunshots at the distance of 40 to 50 meters as the official tried to flee, according to the North’s account.

They then burned the “floating material” the man had been clinging to but did not find his body, according to the account.

Suh also said that despite the deterioration in relations between the two Koreas, Moon and Kim recently exchanged personal letters.

The 47-year-old official, who has not been identified, was reported missing to the coast guard at around noon on Monday.

His colleagues were unable to locate him aboard the fishing monitoring vessel they were working on that day and found only his shoes had been left behind.

The vessel was investigating allegations of illegal fishing around two kilometers south of Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, approximately five miles from the disputed maritime border with North Korea.

Southern military personnel said their surveillance systems detected a North Korean maritime patrol that had found the man floating adrift in its territorial waters the next day.

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