Asia

South Korean ex-first lady in 'peace visit' to North

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Media captionWatch: Stephen Evans reports from Seoul on 93-year-old Lee Hee-Ho's visit to Pyongyang

The widow of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung has travelled to the North, hoping to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.

It is unclear whether Lee Hee-ho, who is on a private trip, will be able to meet top North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong-un.

In 2000, Dae-jung held inter-Korean reconciliation talks - later winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

The two Koreas are technically still at war.

Dae-jung, who died in 2009, was a supporter of rapprochement with Pyongyang. The summit between him and Kim Jong-un's father, and former leader Kim Jong-il, led to a time of relatively better relations between the two Koreas.

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Image caption Mrs Lee's official itinerary says she will visit a maternity clinic, an orphanage and a children's hospital

"Lee voiced hope that the two Koreas could heal pain and wounds from a 70-year-long inter-Korean division and promote reconciliation and co-operation, " said Kim Sung-jae, from the Kim Dae-jung Peace Centre which organised the trip, according to Yonhap news agency.

"She expressed wishes that this visit could pave the way for continuous dialogue, exchanges and co-operation between the two Koreas."

However, the BBC's Stephen Evans in Seoul says the visit seems unlikely to unthaw relations, particularly while Kim Jong-un pursues nuclear weapons.

Mrs Lee's official itinerary says she will visit a maternity clinic, an orphanage and a children's hospital.

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