S. Korea's Former First Lady Meets Kim Jong Un

Heads one of two private mourning delegations from Seoul
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2011 1:37 PM CST
Lee Hee-Ho, South Korea's Former First Lady, Meets With Kim Jong Un
Lee Hee-ho, wearing glasses, widow of late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, and Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, right, prepare to depart en route to North Korea from the DMZ, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

(Newser) – South Korea's 89-year-old former first lady is in Pyongyang meeting with the North's new 20-something "Supreme Commander," reports the BBC. Lee Hee-Ho, the wife of late President Kim Dae-Jung, headed one of two delegations South Korea allowed to visit Pyongyang to pay respects to Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il. Lee met with the younger Kim briefly, for about 10 minutes, according to the South's unification ministry. "As chairman Kim Jong Il sent a condolence delegation to Seoul when my husband passed away in 2009; I believe it is our duty to express our condolences," said Lee.

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Seoul is stressing that both Lee's delegation, as well as one headed by Hyundai chairwoman Hyun Jung-eun, are in the North on private business. The South won't be sending official representatives to the elder Kim's funeral. Kim Dae-Jung, as the South's president, spearheaded diplomacy between the two nations, in what became known as the Sunshine Policy. Hyundai, meanwhile, has aggressively pursued business ties with the North. Both women are likely the highest ranking thus far to meet with Kim Jong Un, notes the BBC. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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