|Kim Yo-jong, right, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, delivers condolence flowers he sent marking the death of former South Korean first lady Lee Hee-ho, to Chung Eui-yong, center, the chief of the National Security Office, at the border village of Panmunjeom, Wednesday. On the left is Rep. Park Jie-won of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace. Courtesy of Ministry of Unification|
By Park Ji-won, Joint Press Corps
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's only sister Kim Yo-jong delivered a condolence letter from her brother on the death of former first lady Lee Hee-ho to the head of the presidential National Security Office (NSO) Chung Eui-yong, Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday.
"Kim Yo-jong delivered Kim Jong-un's condolence letter and flowers to NSO chief Chung during a meeting at the border village of Panmunjeom. Chung accepted them. The letter included Kim Jong-un's message to commemorate the death of the late first lady Lee," Yoon Do-han, chief presidential press secretary told reporters in a briefing.
But Yoon didn't comment on whether Kim Yo-jong delivered a separate letter from Kim Jong-un to President Moon Jae-in.
Upon arrival his return from Panmunjeom, Chung said Kim Yo-jong expressed the hope of keeping inter-Korean cooperation alive, given the commitment of Lee for cooperation between citizens in the respective Koreas.
Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho and Rep. Park Jie-won of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace accompanied Chung to the meeting that lasted 15 minutes.
Kim Yo-jong was accompanied by Ri Hyon, a senior official from the United Front Department in charge of inter-Korean affairs.
The late first lady accompanied her husband to Pyongyang for the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000. Lee also visited Pyongyang in 2011 to express condolences after the latter's death, and met with Kim Jong-un.
Experts said the North's response to Lee's death may serve as a litmus test for an early resumption of inter-Korean talks, stalled for months after the failure of the Hanoi summit between North Korea and the United States. President Moon earlier said he was hoping to hold another summit with the North Korean leader, but no progress has been made so far.
|Kim Jong-un, son of and successor to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, shakes hands with Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, during her visit to the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang to pay her respects to the late North Korean leader, Dec. 26, 2011. AP-Yonhap|