Seven North Korean women’s visit to a South Korean seminar on sex slaves used by Japan’s World War II army was canceled hours before they were to cross the border Sunday.
The visit would have been the first by North Koreans to South Korea in 15 months. It was expected to ease a longstanding frostiness between the two sides, divided of late by nuclear disputes.
North Korea gave no reason for the cancellation, the South Korean Unification Ministry said.
But North Korea was dealing with the death of its No. 2 man, O Jin U, 78, who died of cancer Saturday. O was believed to have played a key role in installing Kim Jong Il as North Korea’s new leader.
The problem of so-called “comfort women” is one of the rare issues on which both Koreas agree.