North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Friday he’s “very sorry” after a South Korean official was killed by North Korea while trying to defect near the disputed sea boundary, South Korean officials said.
“Comrade Kim Jong Un, the State Affairs Commission chairman, feels very sorry to give big disappointment to President Moon Jae-in and South Korean citizens because an unexpected, unfortunate incident happened,” Moon adviser Suh Soon said the North Korean message said, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The message also said North Korea “cannot help expressing big regrets” over South Korea’s use of “blasphemous and confrontational words like atrocious act” to condemn North Korea before finding out all the facts, according to the report. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un In A Coma? Experts Rebuff Claims From Former South Korean Official)
South Korea accused North Korea on Tuesday of fatally shooting one of its public servants who was thought to have been defecting, according to the report. South Korea also accused North Korean officials of burning his body after finding him floating on an object in North Korean waters Tuesday.
North Korean officials said troops fired blanks at the man after he refused to answer questions other than that he was from South Korea, according to the AP. The South Korean man tried to flee, prompting North Korean troops to fire 10 rounds according to the same report. However, North Korean officials said when they approached the floating object, there was blood but no body, and proceeded to burn the floating device in line with anti-coronavirus rules, the AP reports.
The incident comes as tension between the two nations are on the rise after North Korea blew up a liaison office along the border that was meant to establish better relations between the two nations. The incident followed North Korea’s announcement that it would cut communication ties with South Korea and treat them as the “enemy.”