Kim Jong-un Unexpectedly Issues Apology For The Killing Of A South Korean Fisheries Minister Saying 'It Should Not Have Happened'

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Kim Jong-un Unexpectedly Issues Apology For The Killing Of A South Korean Fisheries Minister Saying 'It Should Not Have Happened'

Photo: (Left) North Korean army soldiers wearing masks look at the South side on September 16, 2020 in Panmunjom, South Korea © Getty Images/Park Tae-hyun-Korea; (Right) North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un © Getty Images/Pyeongyang Press Corps

North Korea's Kim Jong-un has released an unexpected and uncharacteristic apology following the killing of a South Korean fisheries official who ventured into North Korean waters.

In a statement to the South Korean President, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that the killing was 'unexpected' and 'unfortunate' and that 'it should not have happened'.

The killing occurred on the 21st of September and was said to have taken place when the individual was moving in a vessel alone in order to investigate illegal fishing in the area. He then found himself in North Korean waters where he was shot at by North Korean naval forces. The border between North Korea and South Korea is perhaps the most heavily guarded border in the world and has been the scene of numerous incidents in the past. However, this would be the first time since 2008 that a civilian has been killed.

While it is not certain what the situation is with CoVid-19 inside North Korea, it is suggested that fear of the pandemic may have played a part in the shooting of the fisheries minister. In effect, North Korea is enforcing a 'shoot-to-kill' policy on anyone that could potentially be bringing the virus into the country. Indeed, they have set up a 2km secure zone on their border with China, with whom North Korea conducts almost all of their international trade.

Many political commentators have now referenced the fact that the apology by North Korea is entirely out-of-line with their usual behaviour. In most events, North Korea takes a defensive position and refuses to accept responsibility for their actions, almost always blaming foreign interference for any and all negative incidents that transpire. Therefore, this change in tone could be an insight into the changing diplomatic relations between the North and the rest of the world.

Tom Fowdy, a British analyst of politics and international relations, writing for Russia Today said that the North Korean fear of CoVid-19 played a part in the killing and that the uncharacteristic North Korean diplomatic responsive shows an acceptance by the regime that they must do everything possible to remain on friendlier terms with the international community. He writes:

"When the South Korean official crossed the border (for reasons that are not clear) it is likely those who encountered him panicked, feared he might be carrying the virus, and resorted to a brutal solution. However, the action taken was so serious and grave that it had an immediate consequence on North Korea's diplomacy with South Korea. North Korea is in a desperate situation. Although this killing cannot be justified, the country is abjectly terrified of Covid-19, primarily because with a weak economy and under crippling sanctions, it does not have the resources or capabilities to deal with a potential outbreak."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is widely regarded as a campaigner for peace and reconciliation with the North and therefore the North do not wish to do anything that could ruin an improved relationship, which they hope will see some sanctions lifted.

Very little is known about the inner workings of the hermit state, which is regarded as the least free in the world, and rumours have frequently circulated regarding the internal politics of the country. A rumour earlier this year even falsely claimed that Kim Jong-un had died and that his sister was taking over in power.

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Thinking Humanity: Kim Jong-un Unexpectedly Issues Apology For The Killing Of A South Korean Fisheries Minister Saying 'It Should Not Have Happened'
Kim Jong-un Unexpectedly Issues Apology For The Killing Of A South Korean Fisheries Minister Saying 'It Should Not Have Happened'
North Korea has released an unexpected and uncharacteristic apology following the killing of a South Korean fisheries official who ventured into North
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