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Senior NKorean official starts visit to South

A senior North Korean official who is close to leader Kim Jong-Il began a three-day visit to South Korea to discuss ways to follow up last month's summit agreements.

world Updated: Nov 29, 2007 09:08 IST

A senior North Korean official who is close to leader Kim Jong-Il began a three-day visit to South Korea on Thursday to discuss ways to follow up last month's summit agreements.

Kim Yang-Gon, who is in charge of inter-Korean relations and intelligence matters for the ruling Workers' Party, crossed the heavily fortified border along with five working-level officials, an AFP photographer said.

He is scheduled to meet Unification Minister Lee Jae-Joung later Thursday, the ministry said, and will hold talks Friday with Kim Man-Bok, chief of the National Intelligence Service.

Kim, 69, has been described as one of the most trusted aides to Kim Jong-Il. He was the only official to accompany the communist state's leader during summit talks with South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun in Pyongyang last month.

Lee said Wednesday the North Korean team would meet officials involved in economic cooperation and discuss implementing the summit declaration.

Prime ministers of the two Koreas met in Seoul earlier this month to follow up the October 4 leaders' declaration, which called for moves to promote peace and major joint economic projects.

Kim Yang-Gon's predecessor Kim Yong-Sun visited Seoul in 2000 soon after the first-ever inter-Korean summit.

The North Koreans were set to visit several firms operating in North Korea and a Daewoo Shipbuilding yard on the southern island of Geoje.

Officials quoted by Yonhap news agency said they were arranging for the visitors to pay a courtesy call on President Roh just before they head home late Saturday.