(SEOUL, South Korea) — Seoul insisted Monday that former first lady Lee Hee-ho’s meeting with new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang was not sanctioned by the government of South Korea.
Lee was the wife of the late Kim Dae-jung, South Korea’s president 1998 to 2003, and recipient of the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. He was recognized for attempting to smooth relations between his country and North Korea.
Seoul said that the former first lady’s meeting with Kim was brief and she carried no message from its government.
While the South has sent two delegations to offer condolences, there will be no officials at Wednesday’s funeral for Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, who passed away on Dec. 17 at the age of 69.
In other developments, Kim was named head of the Workers’ Party Central Committee, giving him authority over Pyongyang’s highest decision-making bodies. He has previously been designated as North Korea’s “supreme commander.”
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN
Sheena McKenzie, CNN