Sister of N. Korean leader pays respects Panmunjom meeting

Seoul (AFP) –


The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday delivered a condolence message at a funeral service for former South Korean first lady Lee He-ho, the first high-level contact between the two countries in months.

Kim Yo Jong, who holds a powerful position in the reclusive state, delivered the message, and flowers, on her brother's behalf at a meeting with South Korean officials at Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone.

The meeting lasted about 15 minutes, said Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's top national security advisor.

"Kim commented we should continue co-operation in honour of Lee's efforts for inter-Korean harmony," he said, according to broadcaster YTN.

Lee, a lifelong companion of late president Kim Dae-jung, died on Monday aged 96.

Kim was known for his "sunshine policy" of engagement with North Korea, and Pyongyang also sent a delegation to Seoul to pay respects when he died in 2010.

Wednesday's meeting was the first by senior officials since the breakdown of a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February.

Pyongyang has called on Seoul to implement joint economic projects agreed last year at inter-Korean summits, but sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes have blocked progress.