North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologized for the killing of a South Korean official, an incident which could have been a disaster for any hopes of rekindling talks between the South and the North.
According to a report by Yonhap news agency on Friday Kim reportedly told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened.
Earlier on Monday, a South Korean fisheries official disappeared from a fisheries patrol boat when it was about 10km (six miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas.
On Thursday, South Korea said on Thursday the 47-year-old man had been shot dead by North Korean troops and his body burned.
In a message to Seoul, Kim said he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
News agency reported that the North said it had conducted its own investigation into the incident and found that soldiers near its western sea border had fired at least 10 shots at the South Korean. The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent coronavirus from entering the country.
However, the North insisted that it had not burned the man’s body but rather the “floating material” that was carrying him.
Also, some experts were skeptical of claims that the man had been trying to defect to a country that has seen more than 30,000 North Koreans fleeing to South Korea in the past two decades, defections from South to North are rare.
21 Killed, Dozens Missing After Typhoon Molave Lashes Vietnam
Typhoon Molave, the fourth storm to hit Vietnam in a month, has damaged some fifty-six thousand homes and left millions without electricity. Molave is one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades.
Twenty-one persons have been confirmed killed and dozens more missing on Thursday after the typhoon tore through central Vietnam on Tuesday, triggering landslides in the central province of Quang Nam and causing some of the worst devastation seen in years.
International federation of the red cross says since early October, Vietnam has been batterred by storms, heavy rains and floods which have left at least one hundred thirty persons dead.
France Imposes Four-Week National Lockdown To Combat Coronavirus
French president, Emmanuel Macron has announced a second national lockdown to last till the end of next month. The new measures would allow residents to only leave home for essential work or for medical reasons.
Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will close, but schools and factories will remain open. Thirty-three thousand new cases of the virus were confirmed on Tuesday.
Macron says the country risks a resurgence of the virus that may hit harder this time.
Meanwhile, Germany is also ready to impose a less severe emergency lockdown. Restaurants, gyms and theaters will be closed.
US Opposes Okonjo-Iweala’s WTO Appointment
The United States is trying to throw a monkey-wrench in the appointment of Nigeria’s former two-time finance minister as the first African director-general of the World Trade Organization.
The U.S. has been at odds with the WTO on how it handles global trade. It had thrown its support behind South Korea’s trade minister, Yoo Myung-Hee whom the U.S. believes could bring reforms to the organization. The U.S. says it wants the WTO led by someone with real hand-on experience in the field.
This does not mean Okonjo-Iweala would not become the organization’s boss. WTO’s spokesman, Keith Rockwell said on Wednesday just one country, the U.S., did not support Okonjo-Iweala, but she has the backing of all 27 European Union countries.
Unlike the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, appointments like this for the WTO require the votes of each of the one hundred sixty-four member countries. A majority of those votes would get her through.
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