Seoul, May 4 (IANS) Two North Korean defectors elected as lawmakers in South Korea on Monday apologized for their remarks over Pyongyang leader Kim Jong-un’s ill health amid public criticism over fake news.
Thae Yong-ho, who won a seat in the recent South Korean parliamentary elections and also a former No. 2 diplomat in North Korea’s Embassy in London, apologized his unconfirmed remarks on Kim’s health, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The North’s leader appeared in public for the first time in 20 days last week, debunking speculation that he might be seriously ill.
Thae earlier said Kim “cannot stand up by himself or walk properly”.
“I apologize to the public (over my remarks) whatever the reason is… As I received many rebukes for the last two days, I’ve been feeling the impact of my words keenly.”
Thae, said he felt a “heavy” responsibility for the impact his remarks could have as a lawmaker.
Also on Monday, Ji Seong-ho, another North Korean defector elected as a lawmaker, apologized for claiming that he was “99 per cent sure” of Kim’s death, Yonhap News Agency reported.
“I deeply apologize to the public. I’ve been thinking about myself in the past few days. I deeply felt the weight of my post,” Ji said in a statement.
Kim’s absence from an annual event marking the April 15 birth anniversary of his late grandfather and national founder Kim Il-sung had spawned media speculation about his ill health.
But Pyongyang’s state media reported Saturday that he attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a fertilizer factory.