A message of condolences arrived from Pyeongyang over the passing of former South Korean First Lady Lee Hee-ho, who always showed full support of making peace with North Korea.
On Wednesday afternoon, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong came to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom along with a senior official from the regime's United Front Department.
She delivered a funeral flower arrangement and a written message to three South Korean officials National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong, Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho, and lawmaker Park Jie-won who doubles as the vice director of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Center.
"They said that the two Koreas should continue to work on inter-Korean cooperation, following Lee Hee-ho's wish to achieve reconciliation between the South and North."
Kim Yo-jong added that her brother has special feelings toward the late former First Lady and thought that it'd be better to deliver condolences directly to high-level South Korean government officials.
"We said that we expected a delegation from the North, but unfortunately, that didn't happen this time. However, we earnestly conveyed our appreciation and gratitude over the condolence message and flowers."
There were expectations that the North could possibly send a delegation across the border over Lee's passing, as it has done twice in the past when Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung and former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung died.
But Pyeongyang chose not to do so this time, and Kim Yo-jong did not explain why.
In his message to Lee Hee-ho's family, Kim Jong-un expressed condolences and consolation.
He stressed that Lee's efforts to achieve reconciliation and peace between the two Koreas became a precious foundation to current inter-Korean ties and won't be forgotten.
Lee Hee-ho was the widow of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, whose efforts to activate inter-Korean exchanges and promote reconciliation through the "sunshine policy" were globally recognized and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.
She visited North Korea in 2011 when Kim Jong-il, former North Korean leader and Kim Jong-un's father, died.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.