S Korea envoy meets N Korea ceremonial head of state: Report

SEOUL - A South Korean envoy attending Russia's World War II anniversary ceremony briefly met with North Korea's ceremonial head of state in a rare high-level encounter between two Koreas, a report said Sunday.

Senior lawmaker Yoon Sang-Hyun, who was visiting Moscow on behalf of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, met Saturday with Kim Yong-Nam, Yonhap news agency said, citing anonymous Seoul officials.

But the two only exchanged pleasantries during their encounter after a military parade in Moscow to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, it said.

Kim, the president of the North's rubber-stamp parliament, travelled to Russia after leader Kim Jong-Un cancelled a planned, much-anticipated visit.

The young leader cancelled what would have been his first overseas trip due to internal issues, Pyongyang's state media said earlier.

Kim Yong-Nam, 87, has frequently travelled overseas as Pyongyang's representative head of state.

The encounter came as cross-border tensions remained high, punctuated by sporadic minor skirmishes along the border and occasional missile launches by the nuclear-armed North.

On Saturday, the North said it had successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, and separately test-fired three anti-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

The last high-level meeting between two Koreas took place in October, when three top-ranking Pyongyang officials made a surprise visit to the Asian Games held in the South.

The two nations then agreed to hold high-level talks by early November to discuss mutual concerns. But the agreement fizzled out over bickering over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent to the North by Seoul rights activists.