Kim Yang-gon, a top aide to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has died in a car crash on December 29, state news agency KCNA has said.
Kim Yang-gon, 73, was the director of the United Front Department of the ruling Workers’ Party and was in charge of ties with South Korea.
He was part of a high-level delegation from North Korea that helped ease a stand-off with South Korea in August, after an exchange of artillery fire.
“Comrade Kim Yang-gon, a Workers’ Party secretary and member of the party Central Committee Politbureau… died in a traffic accident at 6:15AM, Tuesday, at age 73,” KCNA said, without giving details.
It added that Kim Jong-un would lead an 80-member state funeral for Kim Yang-gon on December 31.
Tension between North Korea and South Korea increased in August when a border blast injured two South Korean soldiers.
Meetings at that time eventually led to the two Koreas stepping away from a military confrontation.
Kim Ynag-gon was succeeded by Jun-Scol Nic as director of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party.