President Moon Jae-in has offered words of condolence to the family of the South Korean government worker shot dead last week by North Korean troops.
In meeting with his top aides on Monday, Moon said that the government is sorry for the shock and anger caused to the South Korean people, calling it an regrettable and unfortunate incident.
I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family members of the deceased regardless of how he ended up in North Korean waters. Whatever the reason, the government, which is responsible for protecting people's lives and safety, is deeply sorry about the incident.
Moon stressed the need to uncover the full truth and to find ways to stop this from happening again.
That said, he highlighted the need for communication and cooperation between the two Koreas, calling on Pyeongyang to reopen the inter-Korean military communication line it severed earlier this year.
The president also noted the swift and rare apology from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying that it reflects his determination to prevent ties from breaking down.
The South Korean official went missing last Monday from a patrol boat while on duty near Yeonpyeong-do Island off the country's west coast.
South Korea's military said later that North Korean troops had shot the man and then burned his body while Pyeongyang claims its troops set fire to a floating object the man had been using, not his body.
On Sunday, Seoul requested that the two Koreas launch a joint probe.