North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologised after the fatal shooting of a South Korean fisheries official by the military earlier this week, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday, citing the presidential office.
In a formal letter sent to Seoul, the North conveyed Kim’s message that he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Moon is facing intense political pressure over the incident, which coincided with a renewed push for policy to engage Pyongyang.
The official disappeared from a fisheries patrol boat on Monday when it was about 10km (six miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas.
South Korea said on Thursday the man had been shot dead by North Korean troops and his body burned.
The North said it had conducted its own investigation into the incident and found that soldiers near its western sea border had fired at least 10 shots at the South Korean, Yonhap said.
The man was intruding into the North’s waters and the military acted in accordance with regulations, the letter added, saying it was not the official’s body they had burned but the flotation device he had been using.
“The troops could not locate the unidentified trespasser during a search after firing the shots, and burned the device under national emergency disease prevention measures,” Suh Hoon, Moon’s security adviser told a briefing, referring to the North’s letter.