South Korea said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will send flowers and a message of condolence Wednesday afternoon for the funeral of former South Korean first lady Lee Hee-ho, whose late husband held a historic summit with Kim’s father in 2000.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said North Korean officials led by Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, a senior official of North Korea’s ruling party, will deliver the flowers and message to South Korean officials at a border village Wednesday afternoon. South Korean presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong and Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho will travel to Panmunjom to receive the North Korean offers, the ministry said in an emailed statement.
The contact between the Korean officials will come at a delicate time in relations between the rivals. The North had significantly slowed down its diplomatic and engagement activities with the South since February when a high-stakes nuclear summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump collapsed over disagreements in exchanging sanctions relief for disarmament.
Lee, the wife of late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, died on Monday at 97. Her funeral proceedings are continuing through Friday.
Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his pro-democracy struggle and his rapprochement policies with North Korea, months after he met then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang for the first summit between the Koreas since their 1950-53 war.
North Korea sent a high-level delegation to the South after Kim Dae-jung died in 2009. Lee had joined her husband’s 2000 trip to Pyongyang for a summit and also visited the North Korean capital in 2011 after the death of Kim Jong Il, when she met and expressed her condolences to Kim Jong Un.