SEOUL, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Kim Yang Gon, one of Pyongyang's top negotiators with South Korea, was killed in a car accident on Tuesday, according to North Korea state media.
KCNA reported Kim, 73, died at 6:15 p.m. local time, and that he was a Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Politburo member, a representative of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Party secretary.
"Comrade Kim Yang Gon, director of the United Front Department of the Korean Workers' Party and Party Secretary, devoted his struggle to our party's independent policy of unification," KCNA said in its statement.
Kim played a critical role in brokering a deal between North and South in August, after tensions escalated at the border.
After reaching the agreement, Kim had said on North Korean state media that the talks were a "stepping stone" but more dialogue is needed.
"It is very fortunate that we were able to find a stepping stone toward peace and security, reconciliation and cooperation," Kim said in August.
On Wednesday North Korea praised Kim and said he had displayed a spirit dedicated to service, to the country and its people, and according to "unwavering revolutionary principles."
KCNA also stated Kim was a loyal warrior and one of Kim Jong Un's "closest comrades."
Kim graduated from Kim Il Sung University and served as advisor to North Korea's Youth League Central Committee and a North Korean foreign cultures commission, South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reported.
Kim was known for his skills in diplomacy and was the chief interlocutor in North-South negotiations. Kim also served as North Korea envoy to other countries, including China, North Korea's most important partner.