Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho was appointed last week as the South Korean chief of the liaison office in Kaesong. The appointment came after he replaced Chun Hae-sung last month as vice unification minister, who also serves as Seoul's liaison office chief.
"The North has informed us in advance that the North Korean head of the office will not be able to come to Kaesong tomorrow," the official said.
The two Koreas launched the liaison office in September and agreed to hold a meeting of its co-heads -- one from each side -- every week. The meeting, however, has not been held since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in February.
Suh will still visit the Kaesong office Friday to meet with South Korean staff and check the overall operation of the bureau, the official said.
The official said the North is expected to provide due reception and farewell to Suh despite his counterpart, Jon Jong-su's absence.
The North's monthslong nonattendance at the promised liaison office chiefs' meeting comes as inter-Korean relations have effectively hit a wall amid little progress in denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
A senior government official earlier said on condition of anonymity that Seoul is considering proposing to North Korea that the two sides hold a meeting of their liaison office chiefs only when they agree to it, rather than sticking to the current weekly basis. (Yonhap)