PHOTO CREDITS: KCNA/AP PHOTO
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apologized Friday over the killing of a South Korean official who was allegedly trying to defect near the rivals’ disputed sea boundary, according to AP News.
The message from Kim Jong Un, as cited by an advisor to South Korean President Moon, stated, “Comrade Kim Jong Un, the State Affairs Commission chairman, feels very sorry to give big disappointment to President Moon Jae-in and South Korean citizens because an unexpected, unfortunate incident happened.” The advisor, Suh Hoon, also cited that the North Korean leader apologized for the event happening at such a “hard time” as South Korea grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. South Korea earlier accused North Korea of fatally shooting one of its public servants who was likely trying to defect and burning his body after finding him on a floating object in North Korean waters on Tuesday. South Korean officials condemned what they called an “atrocious act” and pressed North Korea to punish those responsible.
According to the North Korean message, North Korean troops first fired blanks after the man found in the North’s waters refused to answer other than saying he’s from South Korea. Then, as he reportedly made moves to flee, the North Korean troops fired 10 rounds. When they came near the floating object, they only found lots of blood but no signs of the South Korean man. Little is known about the slain official, except that he was a 47-year-old father of two who left behind some debts, according to authorities. Maritime police said Friday they were checking the man’s cell phone records, bank accounts and insurance programs.
The presidential Blue House said that Moon and Jong Un recently exchanged letters before the latest incident. In his letter, Jong Un expressed worries about coronavirus outbreaks and typhoon damage in South Korea and wished Moon good health. Jong Un’s apology will likely de-escalate tensions between the Koreas as it is expected to ease anti-North sentiments in South Korea as well as mounting criticism of its liberal President Moon Jae-in. It is also important to note that it is extremely rare for a North Korean leader to apologize to South Korea on any issue (AP News).
EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE