Former South Korean First Lady Lee Hee-ho Travels to North Korea

PHOTO: Lee Hee-ho, center, the wife of late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, waves as she arrives at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea, to leave for North Korea, Aug. 5, 2015.Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo
Lee Hee-ho, center, the wife of late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, waves as she arrives at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea, to leave for North Korea, Aug. 5, 2015.

The widow of South Korea's ex-president Kim Dae-jung is visiting North Korea for a four-day trip.

Lee Hee-ho, 93, was personally invited by North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un and is accompanied by 18 delegation members, including professors and pro-unification activists, according to her late husband's foundation, Kim Dae-Jung Peace Center. The trip begins Wednesday and concludes on Saturday, Aug. 8.

Kim Dae-jung had spearheaded South Korea's active stance towards amending relations with the North. He had met with Kim Jong-un's late father Kim Jong-il in June 2000.

It is uncertain whether Lee will meet with Kim Jong-un, but hopes remain high that her visit might ease inter-Korean tensions as the two Koreas celebrate the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japan.

But the South Korean government has noted that her trip remains strictly civilian, and does not carry any official messages.

Lee is to visit a children’s hospital and nursery in Pyongyang. She will stay at a guesthouse for VIP guests in the capital. The last time she went to North Korea was in 2011 to offer condolences over Kim Jong-il’s death.