Our starting point tonight: A rare apology from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to South Korea.
Less than 24 hours after South Korean President Moon Jae-in demanded a full explanation from North Korea of the fatal shooting of a South Korean government worker earlier this week, Pyeongyang has sent Seoul’s top office what it referred to as the results of incident investigation.
Our senior Blue House correspondent Kim Minji is live at Seoul’s top office.
Minji, this type of apology from North Korea to the South is rare especially this one in the name of its leader Kim Jong-un saying he’s sorry to President Moon and the people of South Korea.
It came rather swiftly, as well. What is Seoul’s Blue House making out of this?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apologized for what he called the “unsavory” shooting of the South Korean man.
That came in a formal notice this morning addressed to Seoul’s top office from the North’s United Front Department, which deals with inter-Korean affairs.
It came a day after South Korea demanded an explanation for the shooting and that North Korea take responsible measures.
Here’s Seoul’s national security advisor.

“North Korea conveyed the message that Chairman Kim Jong-un feels very sorry for greatly disappointing President Moon Jae-in and the South Korean people with the unsavory incident in North Korean waters rather than helping them amid their suffering from the coronavirus.”

According to North Korea’s account the “unidentified” man crossed the western sea border illegally floating on an unspecified kind of material and did not respond “sincerely” to verbal security checks.
North Korean troops fired two blanks, and they believe the man then attempted to flee.
So, they fired more than 10 shots from a distance of about 40 to 50 meters in accordance with a related manual.
After those shots, they inspected the floating material but found only a large amount of blood, and not his body.
The troops then burned the floating material as part of emergency quarantine measures.
The North added that it will be taking measures to prevent the recurrence of such an incident and take extra care so that the case doesn’t hurt the trust and respect built between the two Koreas.
When asked whether the top office sees the North’s message as meeting all its demands that is, as provide a full explanation, an apology and measures to prevent such incident from happening again it said that further analysis is needed.
For one thing, North Korea’s account of what happened to the dead man’s body that it was lost contradicts the South Korean military’s announcement that the North burned it.

Despite the rollercoaster situation we’ve seen in the past 24 hours, President Moon’s national security advisor also unveiled this afternoon that the two leaders had exchanged letters in the last month and in another move, disclosed the full contents.

Yes, the top office said that the exchange took place earlier in September and made public the full text of the letters on President Moon’s orders.
Moon sent a letter first, expressing his respect for Chairman Kim who has been at the forefront of dealing with COVID-19, the prolonged rainy season and a string of typhoons.
He expressed regret that the two Koreas cannot help each other in these trying times, adding that he hopes all Koreans are able to overcome these difficulties soon and wished for the well-being of Kim and his family.
Just days later, Chairman Kim sent a reply thanking Moon for the letter and his warm wishes.
Kim said he was aware of the difficulties Moon is facing, the pressure he is under and the efforts he is making to overcome the troubles.
Kim also said he hopes for the well-being and happiness of all Koreans and expressed concern for Moon’s health.
He added that he hopes the hardship of this year passes by as soon as possible.
The top office, however, said that it’s not an appropriate time to comment on prospects of inter-Korean relations or plans going forward.
But at least for now, that unprecedented apology from the North Korean leader himself and the recent exchange of letters. suggest that Pyeongyang doesn’t want to further heighten inter-Korean tensions.
Back to you Conn-young.

Arirang News’ Kim Minji at the Blue House. Thank you, Minji.

Reporter : kimmj@arirang.com


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