February 27, 2018 10:32
Kim Yong-chol, the head of North Korea's United Front Department, remained holed up in his hotel room on Monday and met senior South Korean officials there.
Top presidential security adviser Chung Eui-yong and other senior officials had lunch and dinner with him behind closed doors at the Walkerhill Hotel.
The government published no photographs of the meeting, apparently wary of South Korean anger at Kim's visit since he masterminded the 2010 sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan.
Security was even tighter than for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong when she came here to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. But during Kim Yo-jong's visit she went to Cheong Wa Dae and attended a performance, and the government granted media access to all events.
Kim was behind the torpedoing of the Cheonan as then chief of the General Bureau of Reconnaissance. He and his entourage were to remain holed up in the hotel until they head back to the North on Tuesday.
A former Unification Ministry official said, "The hotel usually serves as the meeting place when a North Korean delegation comes to South Korea. The North Koreans are able to communicate with Pyongyang and with us in the hotel, so there is really no need to go outside."
The North Korean delegation occupies the entire 17th floor of the upscale hotel, while the Unification Ministry is using the 16th floor and the National Intelligence Service takes up another two floors for its agents.
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