The Chief of South Korea's Hyundai Group left for Pyongyang on Monday to seek for the release of an employee who has been detained in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for more than four months, the company spokesperson said.
Hyundai Group Chief Hyun Jung-eun left for Pyongyang over the inter-Korean demilitarized zone at local time 1:50 p.m. (0450 GMT), South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said.
Before crossing the border to the DPRK, Hyun said, "I will put every effort to win the release of the worker."
Earlier in the day, Kim Ha-young, spokesperson for Hyundai Asan Corp. said the group chief is to pay a visit to the DPRK in pursuit of the release of the detained employee.
The spokesperson, however, said details of Hyun's trip are not yet available, including how long she would stay in the country or whether she will be having meetings with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il.
South Korea's Unification ministry spokesperson Chun Hae-sung clarified that the Hyundai chief is "scheduled to visit" the DPRK later in the day.
Hyun is known to have requested the government to approve of her three-day visit to the DPRK, which the South Korean government later accepted.
Hyun's visit came days after the DPRK released two U.S. journalists it has detained for months for illegally crossing the border into the nation.
The DPRK's gesture last week was widely interpreted as a possible sign of breakthrough in the inter-Korean relations, which has been deadlocked by various issues, including that of the detained worker, local media reported.
The South Korean worker, only identified by his surname Yu, was detained by the DPRK authority on May 30 for "publicly denouncing" the regime and alluring a female DPRK worker.
The detained employee has been working for years in the inter- Korean joint industrial complex located at Kaesong.
(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2009)