North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologized for the death of a South Korean government worker who was shot dead by North Korean troops after crossing a maritime border between North Korea and South Korean.
Kim Jong Un's apology
On September 18, a letter was sent to South Korea's Blue House. According to North Korea, units responded to a call that an unidentified male was found floating on an object in the sea, as reported by CNN.
The letter sent to South Korea claims about 10 rounds were fired at the man after he did not comply with a soldier's demand to identify himself, warning shots were also fired but to no avail.
North Korea claims that only a pool of blood remained on the floating object after the shots were fired. After soldiers thought that the man was dead, they burned the floating object on-site per the COVID-19 disease prevention measures of North Korea.
The letter read, according to the Blue House, that Kim Jong Un asked to convey that he feels very sorry that instead of giving aid to the South Koreans who are struggling with the pandemic, the North Koreans have disappointed "President Moon and our compatriots in the South" with what happened at sea.
The letter added that North Korea has now strengthened its maritime surveillance. The country also apologized for the incident, which they acknowledged will have a negative impact on inter-Korean relations, according to BBC.
Rare side of Kim Jong Un
It is very rare for Kim Jong Un to apologize, especially when it comes to something that the country's military did. According to Lt. Gen. Ahn Young-ho, a top official with South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, a worker with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries went missing in waters 1.2 miles or 1.9 kilometers south of the Yeonpyeong Islands on September 21.
South Korean defense officials said in the past that they believed the man was in the process of attempting to defect to North Korea, according to The New York Times.
In a statement on September 24, the South Korean military said that they condemn the atrocities of the North, and they urged Pyongyang to provide an explanation and punish those responsible.
The tensions have been rising between the two countries since communication between the North and the South was cut off in June when Pyongyang first closed and then blew up a joint liaison office in Kaesong, which is a city on the northern side of the border.
The tension between the North and the South came after years of attempting to amend the tragic past of the two countries.
The rapprochement was led by South Korean President Moon Jae-In, and it resulted in historic meetings between the South Korean president and the North Korean leader.
However, the meetings between the two leaders did not deliver long-lasting results between the two countries, and North Korea has taken a different tone towards the South, a shift in stance that has come as Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, moved into a more influential position in the North Korean regime.