Kim Jong-un has rarely made public apologies after killing a South Korean official and allegedly burning his body.
North Korea has expressed regret that its troops shot at a 47-year-old fisherman at least ten times and then apparently set him on fire.
The country sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, apologizing for shooting the man who went missing this week.
The man is believed to have tried to leave for North Korea when he was missing about six miles south of the sea border between the two countries.
Citing intelligence sources, the South Korean military said the man was apparently questioned before he was executed on “orders from a higher authority.”
Moon security advisor Suh Hoon said the regime’s despotic leader had “apologized” that the incident had disappointed the South Korean public and should not have happened.
The rare news came when Moon was exposed to heated political clashes over the incident, which coincided with renewed pressure on politicians to engage Pyongyang.
The soldiers fired more than 10 shots at the South Korean fisheries officer after he failed to reveal his identity and tried to escape, Suh said, citing the letter.
However, the letter stated that they burned a flotation device that their anti-virus manuals said he was using, and not his body.
Suh said, “The troops were unable to find the unidentified intruder during a search after the gunshots were fired and incinerated the device as part of national disease prevention measures.”
The shooting shocked many South Koreans and sparked a violent backlash from opposition lawmakers, which led Moon to give an unusually stern response that she described as “unforgivable”.
In 2008, North Korean troops shot dead a South Korean tourist who was strolling into a restricted area while staying at a North Korean resort complex, resulting in a standstill between Korea
Tourism projects. Moon has promised to reopen the tour programs.
The military announced the fisheries official’s death the day after Moon suggested that a new regional disease control and health initiative, including North Korea, be proposed to help tackle crises like that
Coronavirus and strained relations with Pyongyang.
Moon and Kim recently exchanged letters to share hopes of rebuilding relationships after fighting the coronavirus, Suh said.