South Korean MP to visit North Korea for Kim death anniversary
A senior South Korean politician will visit North Korea for the third anniversary of late leader Kim Jong-Il`s death, the government said Monday, stressing that the trip was to give condolences and was not political.
Seoul: A senior South Korean politician will visit North Korea for the third anniversary of late leader Kim Jong-Il`s death, the government said Monday, stressing that the trip was to give condolences and was not political.
Park Ji-Won, a member of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, will lead a seven-member delegation to the city of Kaesong Tuesday to deliver a floral wreath, the unification ministry said.
Kim, father of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, died on December 17, 2011 after suffering a heart attack.
Park is expected to meet with Won Dong-Yon, deputy head of the North`s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, one of the state bodies handling cross-border affairs, according to ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-Cheol.
However, Lim warned that the trip should not be "overinterpreted", rejecting a suggestion it could help ease tensions between the two nations and stressing it was purely for the purposes of conveying condolences.
Park, 72, was a close aide to the late President Kim Dae-Jung, who stressed reconciliation with Pyongyang during his presidency from 1998 to 2003.
In August, the North offered its condolences to Kim Dae-Jung`s widow on the anniversary of the former president`s death.
But ties have remained icy for months with the North slamming anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border by Seoul activists. High-level talks between the two Koreas, previously planned for late October, fell apart.
Pyongyang also bristled at Seoul`s support for a new UN resolution that recommends referring the North`s top leadership to the International Criminal Court on possible charges of crimes against humanity.
The North last month warned of "catastrophic consequences" for supporters of the UN bill, including the South, and accused Seoul of pushing the Korean peninsula to the "brink of war."