North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a rare apology Friday over what he described as the “unexpected and disgraceful” killing of a South Korean government official at sea, Seoul’s presidential office said.
Apologies from the North — let alone attributed to Kim personally — are extremely unusual, and the message comes with inter-Korean ties in a deep freeze as well as a stand-off in nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.
Analysts said the North was looking to placate its neighbour after the shooting — the first time its forces killed a Southern citizen for a decade — provoked outrage in the South.
The fisheries official was shot dead on Tuesday by North Korean soldiers, and Seoul says his body was set on fire while still in the water, apparently as a precaution against coronavirus infection.
Kim was “very sorry” for the “unexpected and disgraceful event” that had “disappointed President Moon and South Koreans”, rather than helping them in the face of the “malicious coronavirus”, said Suh Hoon, the South’s National Security Adviser.
Suh was reading out a letter from the department of the North’s ruling party responsible for relations with the South.
In it, Pyongyang acknowledged firing around 10 shots at the man, who had “illegally entered our waters” and refused to properly identify himself.
Border guards fired at him in accordance with standing instructions, it said.
There was no immediate confirmation of the contents from the North, whose state media did not mention the incident on Friday.
North Korean defector turned Seoul-based researcher Ahn Chan-il said it was “extremely rare for the North’s supreme commander to offer an apology, especially to South Koreans and their President”.
“I think this is the first since the 1976 Korean axe murder incident,” he said, referring to the killing of two US officers in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, added: “Kim Jong Un’s supposed apology reduces the risk of escalation between the two Koreas and keeps the Moon government’s hopes for engagement alive.”
It was a “diplomatic move” which “avoids a potential fight in the short-term and preserves the option of reaping longer-term benefits from Seoul”, he said.
My boyfriend ordered me to wash bedsheet with my period stains on it, lady laments
Van Dijk knee surgery successful, Liverpool confirms
How I ended up closing my bank account after offering to pay lady’s bill, man narrates
Cynthia Morgan pens new deal with US-based management
#MadeInLagos: Saraki names favourite track on Wizkid’s new album
#EndSARS: Not sure govt corruption left youths enough money for drugs, says US journalist, Clancy
Woman finds love again seven years after losing husband
Folarin Balogun relishes Arsenal debut against Dundalk
VIDEO: Bride flees on wedding day after discovering groom slept with her friend
Adeboye speaks against Nigeria borrowing money, says country may choke
What Chioma did that made me decide to marry her – Davido
BBNaija: Why I allowed Laycon to rock me instead of Ozo – Nengi
VIDEO: Police station in Ogun vandalized by alleged EndSARS protesters
Man jailed for puncturing condom before having s3x with woman
Ondo election: Eyitayo Jegede arrives polling unit with wife
Military kills scores of bandits in Katsina
EndSARS: Soldiers arrested me on my way to buy food – Mother of four
Looting: Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade, pleads for peace (VIDEO)
VIDEO: Soldiers advise crowd not to loot from Abuja NYSC camp
VIDEO: Crowd loots items stored in Ogun Church
VIDEO: Who kept these palliatives?
VIDEO: Bauchi firemen, Jos DISCO staff in free for all
Self-Confessed Rapist, Robber: Why I’m appealing to the police to kill me
VIDEO: Crowd loots COVID19 palliatives in Kaduna
- General19 hours ago
Lekki Shooting: Soldiers deserve commendation for using blank ammunition, says Ex-Army spokesman, Usman
- Sports20 hours ago
AFCON Qualifiers: Rohr calls 24 for Sierra Leone
- Metro20 hours ago
#EndSARS: Hoodlums kill police inspector, cut off manhood in Ebonyi
- Metro20 hours ago
Woman crushed to death in front of her father’s hotel
- General18 hours ago
Missing Plateau pastor spotted in Boko Haram video
- Metro20 hours ago
20 killed in failed Boko Haram attack on Army camp
- Metro22 hours ago
Six inmates escape from detention centre in Delta
- Entertainment22 hours ago
Toke Makinwa speaks on getting paid by govt to announce she has COVID-19