North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has issued a rare public apology over the shooting death of a South Korean man on the border, whose body was also set on fire according to the South.
The killing, North Korea says, was to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking at a news conference, South's national security adviser cited the apology letter from North Korea’s border department.
It included a line from the leader saying he was “sorry” over the incident and promises to prevent a recurrence.
The man who died was a South Korean fisheries official who went missing this week.
Soldiers fired more than 10 shots at him after he did not reveal his identity and tried to flee.
Seoul had said the soldiers then doused his body in oil and set it on fire.
But the letter claims they instead burned a floatation device he was using, according to their anti-virus manuals, and not his body.
The rare message comes as South Korean President Moon Jae-in faces intense political fallout at home over the incident.
It coincides with a renewed push for policy to engage Pyongyang.
Moon issued an unusually stringent response calling it "unpardonable."