21 Aug 2009

North Korean officials in South to mourn Kim Dae-jung

9:23 pm on 21 August 2009

Senior North Korean officials have arrived in the South to mourn former president Kim Dae-jung in a move that may signal a warming of ties between the rival states.

But the group, sent by North Korean president Kim Jong-il, will leave ahead of the state funeral on Sunday so as not to appear at any official government events, the BBC reports.

The North Korean officials are to present a wreath of flowers from Kim Jong-il and although they will return home before the service, their two-day trip may present an opportunity for talks with the South Korean government.

However, some observers fear that the rare visit might be used by Pyongyang to give Seoul the cold shoulder.

Some commentators have suggested that the South Korean government is being snubbed because of the lack of official contact ahead of the delegation's arrival.