Pyeongyang responded less than 24 hours after Seoul demanded a full explanation over the fatal shooting of a South Korean official.
That includes a rare apology from leader Kim Jong-un.
Kim Min-ji reports.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apologized for what he called the "unsavory" shooting of the South Korean national.
That came in a formal notice addressed to Seoul's presidential office on Friday from the North's United Front Department, which deals with inter-Korean affairs a day after South Korea demanded an explanation.
"North Korea conveyed the message that Chairman Kim Jong-un feels very sorry for greatly disappointing President Moon Jae-in and the South Korean people with the unsavory incident in North Korean waters rather than helping them amid their suffering from the coronavirus."
According to the North's account the "unidentified" man crossed the western sea border illegally on an unspecified floating object and did not respond "sincerely" to verbal security checks.
Later, North Korean troops fired over 10 shots from a distance of about 40 to 50 meters in accordance with a related manual.
Afterward, they found a large amount of blood but not the man's body.
The troops then burned the object as part of emergency quarantine measures.
North Korea added that it will be taking measures to prevent a recurrence.
When asked whether South Korea sees the North's message as meeting all its demands that is, to provide a full explanation, make an apology and take preventive measures the top office said that further analysis is needed.
Seoul's presidential office also revealed that the leaders of the two Koreas had exchanged letters earlier this month, and in a rare move, disclosed the full contents.
Moon sent a letter first, expressing his respect for Chairman Kim who has been at the forefront of dealing with COVID-19, the prolonged rainy season and a string of typhoons.
He expressed regret that the two Koreas cannot help each other in these trying times, adding that he hopes all Koreans are able to overcome these difficulties soon and wished for the well-being of Kim and his family.
Days later, Chairman Kim sent a reply thanking Moon.
Kim said he was aware of the difficulties Moon is facing, the pressure he is under and the efforts he has made,.. and also hoped for the happiness of all Koreans.
Friday's unprecedented apology from the North Korean leader and the recent exchange of letters. suggest that Pyeongyang doesn't want to heighten tensions any further.
The top office said this incident will serve as a time to reflect on inter-Korean relations. But it added that now is not an appropriate time to comment on the prospects of bilateral ties or plans going forward.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.