The North Korean regime has issued a rare apology for the collapse of a 23-storey building which was under construction, in Pyongyang, causing an unknown number of fatalities.
The regime's official mouthpiece, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), has admitted the building collapse was caused by negligence of North Korean officials.
In a series of apologies, the KCNA quoted a senior official as saying: "[North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un sat up all night, feeling painful after being told about the accident, instructed leading officials of the party, state and the army to rush to the scene, putting aside all other affairs, and command the rescue operation to recover from the damage as early as possible."
The KCNA report added: "[North Korea's minister of people's security] Choe Pu-il repented of himself, saying that he failed to find out factors that can put at risk the lives and properties of the people and to take thorough-going measures, thereby causing an unimaginable accident."
The accident is reported to have taken place a few days ago and the rescue measures are believed to have ended.
An official from South Korea's unification ministry confirmed the collapse of the building but did not divulge further details. In a Guardian report, the official said estimates suggest "hundreds" of people could have been killed.
"In North Korea, it is common that people move into a new apartment even before the construction is completed. About 92 households may have been living in the apartment," a South Korean official told the Seoul news agency Yonhap on condition of anonymity.