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ROK's ex-first lady arrives in Pyongyang for visit

Xinhua | Updated: 2015-08-05 15:43

ROK's ex-first lady arrives in Pyongyang for visit

Former ROK first lady Lee Hee-ho (2nd R), widow of late President Kim Dae-jung, arrives at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, August 5, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - The widow of late President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Kim Dae-jung arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon for her four-day visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) amid remaining cross-border tensions.

The DPRK's state-run KCNA news agency reported that Lee Hee-ho arrived in Pyongyang in the afternoon along with her 18-member entourage. Lee and her entourage are scheduled to return home Saturday.

Lee Hee-ho departed from an airport in Seoul at about 10 am local time by a chartered plane of a ROK low-budget airline.

The 93-year-old flied to Pyongyang along the direct flight line, a rare approval by top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un as such flights were banned after the 1950-53 Korean War which ended in armistice, not in peace treaty. The two Koreas remain technically at war.

"I leave for Pyongyang with a hope that our people (of the two Koreas) heal the wounds and pain of the 70-year division and reconcile and cooperate with each other with the June 15 spirit," Lee was quoted by her spokesman as saying at the Seoul airport.

It was her third travel to the DPRK. The latest one was for the funeral of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of current leader Kim Jong Un, in December 2011 when Lee visited Pyongyang to pay condolences.

Her husband Kim Dae-jung was known for his signature "sunshine policy" of reconciliation with the DPRK, leading to the first inter-Korean summit in 2000 in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Il.

The June 15 joint declaration was issued by the two leaders after the historic summit. Lee accompanied Kim to the summit in 2000.

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