Skip to main content

North Korea says it will admit delegations from South

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 23, 2011 -- Updated 0552 GMT (1352 HKT)
A South Korean soldier at an observation post in Panmunjom looks at North Korea on Thursday.
A South Korean soldier at an observation post in Panmunjom looks at North Korea on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pyongyang says it will guarantee the safety of South Koreans traveling to the North
  • Seoul has said it will allow a limited number of private groups to send delegations to the North
  • South Korea has broken somewhat from its hardline stance since Kim Jong Il's death
  • Seoul has expressed its sympathy to the North Korean people

(CNN) -- North Korea will admit delegations from the South that wish to visit Pyongyang to express their condolences following the death of the leader Kim Jong Il, according to a statement posted on a government website run by the North.

"We will guarantee all convenience and safety of the South Koreans during their visit," said the statement on uriminzokkiri.com, dated Thursday, adding that the North would open to the delegations "all air routes and land routes through Kaesong," its industrial park, some 45 kilometers (27 miles) north of Seoul.

After Pyongyang announced on Monday the death of Kim, the dictator who had ruled the secretive dictatorship since 1994, Seoul has made a number of gestures as it tries to navigate the uncertainty created by the North's leadership transition. Pyongyang has named Kim's youngest son, Kim Jong Un, as the "Great Successor" to his father.

Seoul expressed its sympathy to the North Korean people through a statement on Tuesday. South Korea also said that while it would not send an official delegation to the North, it would allow a limited number of private groups to send delegations to the North if desired.

Pyongyang had already said Thursday that it would welcome a private delegation from Hyundai Asan, a South Korean company with heavy investments in the North, to pay respects to Kim.

A look inside the DMZ

The recent moves have been considered a break from the hardline approach to the North that President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea had taken since coming into office in 2008. They contrast with Seoul's reaction to the death of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung, in 1994 when the conservative South Korean government at the time did not offer its condolences.

The announcement by the North that it would accept delegations came as South Korea's nuclear envoy held talks in Beijing with a senior Chinese official about how to move forward on the issue of North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

South Korea's nuclear point man, Lim Sung-nam, met with Wu Dawei, the Chinese special representative for Korean peninsula affairs, to assess the situation following Kim's death.

CNN's Judy Kwon and Jiyeon Lee contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait and hope.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
June 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 0125 GMT (0925 HKT)
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
iReporter Kenny Zhu visited North Korea in April and was able to take video footage and photos with his Google Glass during the trip.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
North Korea loves saber-rattling. Here's a look at all the firepower they have stockpiled.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
CNN's Elise Labott reports on the new baby pictures of Kim Jong Un released by North Korean state media.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
ADVERTISEMENT