Kim Jong Un has apologised after his troops shot dead a South Korean official near the border and reportedly set his body alight.
The North Korean leader sent a letter to his counterpart Moon Jae-in, according to South Korea’s presidential office, stating that he was “very sorry” for the incident – and clarified that the man’s body was not burned.
It was in fact said to be his flotation device that was set on fire as part of anti-coronavirus regulations. He had been found with the equipment near disputed waters earlier this week.
Image: South Korean leader Moon Jae-in called the incident ‘shocking’ and ‘unpardonable’
The letter comes after reports on Thursday that a 47-year-old South Korean official was killed by North Korean troops after disappearing from an inspection boat on the western side of the peninsula.
On Friday, it was announced that North Korea’s United Front Department – who are in charge of cross-border ties – had sent a letter to Mr Moon.
In the letter, Mr Kim offered a rare apology, saying he was sorry that the incident had disappointed the South Korean public and that it should not have happened.
More than 10 shots were said to have been fired by the North Korean soldiers at the South’s fishing officials after the man refused to say who he was.
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The letter added that the soldiers could not find the man’s corpse, but incinerated the device he used in line with coronavirus prevention guidance.
Mr Moon had called the killing – the first time the North had killed a Southern citizen on its territory since 2008 – a “shocking” and “unpardonable” act and demanded the North punish those responsible.
Image: The death will likely sour relations between the two countries, which are separated by the demilitarised zone (DMZ)
The man had gone missing on Monday 21 September.
South Korea’s Defence Ministry said that the North sent staff in gas masks to board a boat near the man to find out why he was there.
Later that day, one of the Kim regime’s navy boats arrived and started to shoot at him.
Sailors from the boat – who were wearing protective suits and masks – then poured petrol on the body and set it on fire, the ministry said.
South Korean intelligence indicates that the man may have been interrogated on the other side of the border near the Yeongpyeong island.
It is not known how he ended up in North Korean territory, but it is thought he may have been trying to defect.
Source : Sky News