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N. Korea's Kim Jong Un apologies for killing of S. Korean official apparently trying to defect

Kim said he was "very sorry” for the incident earlier this week

Updated: September 25, 2020 - 12:24pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued an apology Friday over the killing of a South Korean official who was apparently trying to defect to North Korea.

Kim said he was “very sorry” for the incident earlier this week in which North Korean troops fatally shot the public servant, then burned his body after finding him on a floating object in North Korean waters, according to the Associated Press.

The apology is seen as an unusual gesture by the isolated North Korean leader toward a rival nation. However, the apology is also being considered perhaps an effort to calm long-standing tensions between the Korean Peninsula countries, as they struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

Kim also called the incident, in the disputed sea between the nations, an “unexpected and disgraceful event." 

The North Korean troops asked the South Korean official to identify himself, first shot blanks, then fired live ammunition per border-security protocol when he failed to cooperate. The troops burned the floating object for coronavirus precautions, the wire service also reports.