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N. Korea holds funeral for aviation body's chief

All News 09:13 January 25, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state media said Wednesday that a funeral for Kang Ki-sop, the head of the country's aviation agency, was held in Pyongyang.

The memorial service for Kang, director-general of the General Administration of Civil Aviation, was held on Tuesday, with family, party and military officials in attendance, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The media outlet did not mention North Korean leader Kim Jong-un being present at the ceremony or the cause of Kang's death and when he died.

The KCNA said top military official Hwang Pyong-so gave a eulogy at the funeral, highlighting Kang's contribution to the country's aviation industry.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while absent from the funeral did make a rare visit to the funeral altar for Kang on Sunday, expressing his condolences for his death.

The North's leader called him a "revolutionary soldier" who fulfilled his duty in a responsible manner, saying that Kang successfully ensured the operation of regular international and domestic air services, state media report said.

Analysts said that the leader's rare visit may be related to his affection for planes, as he is known to use a private jet or even a small plane unlike his late father Kim Jong-il.

North Korea's state-owned flag carrier Koryo Air is controlled by the aviation body. The airline is among the North Korean entities blacklisted by South Korea and the United States in December on the suspicion that it helps the regime transfer workers abroad for foreign currency earnings.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a funeral altar for Kang Ki-sop, the head of the country's aviation agency, expressing condolences for his death, in this image captured from footage from the country's state TV station on Jan. 23, 2017. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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