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N. Korean leader sends 'verbal message' to Hyundai chief

All Headlines 11:07 August 04, 2013
Getting ready to visit North Korea

N. Korean leader sends 'verbal message' to Hyundai chief

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a "verbal message" to the chief of South Korea's Hyundai Group, wishing the company and the chief's family all the best, the North's state media said Sunday.

The report by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) came one day after Hyundai Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun visited the nation to hold a memorial service for her late husband and former Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-hun.

After returning from her one-day visit, Hyun told reporters Saturday that she had received the message from the North Korean leader via Won Tong-yon, the vice chairman of the (North) Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.

"Kim Jong Un said in the message that Jong Mong Hon explored the road of national reconciliation and cooperation, and did a great work for developing the inter-Korean relations and achieving the country's reunification," said the KCNA in an English-language report.

"He prayed for the soul of Jong and hoped that Chairwoman Hyon Jong Un and other family members of Jong and the group will see everything go well."

Hyon expressed the "most heartfelt thanks to Marshal Kim Jong Un for sending the verbal message and extended warm gratitude to him, reflecting the best wishes from the family and the group," the KCNA added.

The two Koreas have adopted different Romanization system, so that the name of even the same person is written differently in English-language texts.

The message was the first to be sent by Kim to a South Korean individual since he took power following the December 2011 death of his father and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

It also comes as tensions persist over the North's shutdown in April of an inter-Korean industrial park in the communist country's border city of Kaesong.

Chung, who aggressively sought business projects with North Korea, committed suicide in 2003 amid an investigation into allegations that former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung secretly transferred large sums of money to the North ahead of the 2000 inter-Korean summit.

Hyundai officials have held a memorial service for Chung at the North's Mount Kumgang resort every year since his death. The now-suspended resort was one of Hyundai's key projects in the North.

The KCNA also said Hyundai officials expressed their determination to do their best to resume suspended tours to the Mount Kumgang resort.

The cross-border tours have been suspended since the shooting death of a female South Korean tourist by a North Korean guard in the summer of 2008.

hague@yna.co.kr
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