December 22, 2011 14:14
Cheong Wa Dae has been in emergency mode since North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death was announced on Monday but returns to normal on Thursday.
President Lee Myung-bak canceled all the external engagements until Wednesday but resumes his normal schedule Thursday and will visit China in January as planned, according to the presidential office.
Lee was regularly briefed on the situation in North Korea by diplomatic and intelligence aides on Wednesday, and met religious leaders at Cheong Wa Dae in the afternoon.
In the meeting, Lee said, "The entire world learned of Kim's death simultaneously. I spoke with the leaders of four countries, the U.S., Japan, China, and Russia, and they all learned it at the same time." His statement counters reports on Wednesday which claimed that the Chinese leadership was told about Kim's death first.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "The government is resuming its normal responsibility of looking after citizens since there are no unusual movements from the North Korean Army. We also took into consideration that an overly tense reaction from the government would have an adverse effect on the economy."
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