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N.Korea`s female chief delegate draws attention

Posted June. 10, 2013 04:44,   

한국어

North Korean chief delegate Kim Song Hye, chief of the Secretarial Bureau at the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, is a familiar figure who accompanied the North’s delegations in past inter-Korean talks. She is said to have visited Seoul more than 10 times. A rarity among North Korean officials in charge of inter-Korean affairs gave Kim the nickname the “female hard worker for South Korean affairs.”

Kim served as a member of the North’s guide team at the June 15 South-North joint declaration in 2000 and also a member of the 15th and 16th north-south ministerial talks held in Seoul and Pyongyang, respectively, in 2005. At the time, she appeared wearing a white two-piece suit among the North Korean representatives who were mostly clad in dark suit and tie, receivoing media spotlight. At a dinner meeting held in Pyongyang, she was seen wearing Korean costume hanbok in dark blue and chatting with South Korean delegation members, which drew keen attention from the media. Then Unification Minister Chung Dong-Young introduced her separately, saying, “The Korean people have culture of respecting women.”

Kim received former South Korean First Lady Lee Hee-ho in December 2011 when the latter visited Pyongyang to attend the funeral ceremony of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. In February last year, she was in charge of receiving and seeing off the delegation of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra led by conductor Chung Myung-whun. Earlier at the second inter-Korean summit in 2007, she also served as guide for the special entourage from the South. Rumors say she is a graduate of Kim Il Sung University, but her accurate academic background has yet to be known.

On the North’s deployment of a female as the chief negotiator for the working-level contact, a North Korea expert in the South said, “It will have various implications.” The expert says that it could indicate the North’s intention to proceed with the inter-Korean working level talks, which have resumed after a long hiatus, in a friendly mood. It could also be a measure that was taken in consideration of the first female president in the South.