- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2014

North Korea has issued a rare public apology after an apartment building collapsed last week in the country’s capital that may have lead to hundreds of deaths.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Sunday that the collapse occurred in Pyongyang on Tuesday “as the construction of an apartment house was not done properly and officials supervised and controlled it in an irresponsible manner.”

It is rare for KCNA to publish anything that could be construed as being negative toward the regime. According to the report, the rescue operation ended Saturday and officials apologized to bereaved families.

The agency cited one official who said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “sat up all night, feeling painful after being told about the accident,” Fox News reported.

The KCNA report confirmed there were casualties but did not give any indication of how many may have been killed or injured, Reuters reported.

An official from South Korea’s unification ministry, who asked not to be identified, confirmed on Sunday that a 23-story apartment building had collapsed in Pyongyang on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The official said the building was presumed to have housed at least 92 families, though it is not known how many people were in the building at the time of the collapse.

“Hundreds are presumed to be dead, assuming that each family has an average of four members,” he told Reuters.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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