Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un apologized Friday for the death of a South Korean official who was killed while seemingly attempting to defect to the North by sea, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's a rare bout of humility from Kim toward his neighbor to the south, and could de-escalate rising tensions between the two nations — at least for the time being.

  • An adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that Kim's message said he was "very sorry" over the "unexpected, unfortunate incident."
  • But Kim said he regretted that South Korea accused the North of "atrocious acts" before asking what had happened during the incident.

The big picture: The incident had caused backlash in South Korea, especially among Moon's political opponents who accused him of covering up details, and risked derailing his attempts to move toward more normalized relations with North Korea.

  • South Korea's defense minister said the official was likely killed because North Korea's anti-coronavirus policies involve "indiscriminate shooting" at those who attempt an illegal border crossing.

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Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

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Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.