North Korea expressed condolences on the death of South Korea's former first lady Lee Hee-ho.
This afternoon, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong handed over condolence flowers and messages to South Korea's top security officials at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjeom.
Let's connect to our Oh Jung-hee who's on the line for us from Seoul's unification ministry.
Jung-hee, how did the meeting at the inter-Korean border go?
Hey Daeun, the government officials who were there to receive the flowers and message say today's conversation between the two sides were strictly focused on condolences on the death of the former first lady Lee Hee-ho.
At 5 p.m. Korea time, just two hours ago, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong appeared at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom along with a senior official from the regime's United Front Department.
She delivered condolence flowers and messages to three South Korean officials -- National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong, Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho, and lawmaker Park Jie-won from the Party for Democracy and Peace.
The two sides talked for about 15 minutes.
Kim Yo-jong delivered Kim Jong-un's message that the two Koreas should continue to work on inter-Korean cooperation, following the former first lady Lee Hee-ho's wish to achieve reconciliation between the South and North.
South Korean officials have told Kim that they're sorry the North isn't sending a delegation to the South this time, but still appreciates the condolences.
According to Seoul's presidential office, the North Korean leader's sister said he has special feelings toward Lee and thought that it's better to deliver condolences directly to high-level South Korean officials.
But she didn't explain why the North is not sending a delegation.
Lee Hee-ho is the wife of Kim Dae-jung who was South Korea's President from 1998 to 2003 and made efforts to activate inter-Korean exchanges and promote reconciliation through the "sunshine policy."
She visited North Korea in 2011 when Kim Jong-il, former North Korean leader and Kim Jong-un's father, died.
Pyeongyang sent delegations across the border to express condolences when figures who contributed to improving inter-Korean relations died -- for example in 2001, when Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung died and in 2009 when former President Kim Dae-jung died.
There were expectations that the North could possibly send a delegation to the South this time as well in a move to resume inter-Korean dialogue amid stalled nuclear negotiations but the North chose not to.