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Senior North Korean party official killed in car accident

Kim Yang Gon, a senior party official of North Korea, was killed in a car crash Tuesday, the official KCNA news agency reported Wednesday morning.

Before his death, Kim, 73, served as director of the United Front Department and secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. He became a member of the political bureau of the WPK Central Committee in February 2015.

The DPRK state media spoke highly of the life of Kim, hailing him as a "loyal revolutionary warrior" of North Korea's late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the "closest comrade-in-arms" of current top leader Kim Jong Un.

The KCNA said Kim Yang Gon's exploits will leave a legacy for long.

Kim has been committed to the independent reunification of the Korean Peninsula and fully implemented the teachings of the two late leaders in terms of national reunification, it said.

Kim's death was a "huge loss" for the party and the North Korean people, as Kim has shown "noble loyalty and strong ability" in devoting himself to the party's undertakings, it added.

A state funeral committee has been set up, which is chaired by top leader Kim Jong Un. A state funeral procession will be held Thursday morning.

On Oct. 4, 2014, Kim Yang Gon was sent to attend the closing ceremony of Incheon Asia Games in South Korea, along with two senior officials -- Hwang Pyong So and Choe Ryong Hae, in a bid to improve inter-Korean ties. This was the highest-level delegation dispatched to South Korea since Kim Jong Un took power in 2011.

Kim Yang Gon also took part in marathon negotiations following a rare exchange of fire at the North-South border in August. The two Koreas finally reached a six-point agreement to defuse the rising tensions, including plans to hold inter-governmental meetings and reunions for separated families split by the 1950-53 Korean War.


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