August 24, 2009 11:32
The organizing committee for former President Kim Dae-jung's state funeral and the Unification Ministry are said to have covered the expenses incurred by the North Korean delegation to the service.
A Unification Ministry official said on Sunday, "North Korea covered the costs of the flight that brought the delegation here, while their lodging, food, transportation and communication expenses were covered by the ministry's budget earmarked for inter-Korean meetings."
The official added, "It is customary in inter-Korean dialogues for the host side to cover the food and lodging expenses of the visiting delegation." The six-member North Korean delegation stayed for two nights at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Hongeun-dong in northern Seoul.
But such special treatment was only provided to the North Korean delegation. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the funeral committee footed the accommodation expenses of only the heads of the delegations from the U.S., China, Japan and other countries.
"The level of support provided to visiting foreign dignitaries was in accordance with international protocol," a government official said. "But the unique nature of inter-Korean relations caused a different set of standards to be applied."
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