North Korea, South Korea Exchange Gunfire At Border
North Korean troops fired multiple gunshots towards the South in the DMZ dividing the peninsula on Sunday, prompting South Korean forces to fire back, Seoul said.
The rare exchange of gunfire comes a day after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had made his first public appearance in nearly three weeks following an absence that triggered intense speculation about his health and fears about the stability of the isolated nation.
A South Korean guard post was hit by several shots from the North, the joint chiefs of staff (JCS) in Seoul said in a statement, adding no casualties were reported in the South.
“Our military responded with two rounds of gunfire and a warning announcement,” the JCS said.
The South Korean military later said the North Korean gunshots were “not deemed intentional”, according to the Yonhap news agency.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said he believed the shots had not been fired on purpose, telling ABC’s “This Week” it was likely they were “accidental”.
The two neighbours remain technically at war, after fighting in the Korean War was halted with an armistice in 1953.
Despite its name, the demilitarized zone is one of the most fortified places on earth, replete with minefields and barbed-wire fences.
The last time the two sides exchanged fire on the border was in 2014. North Korean soldiers also shot at a defector in 2017 but the South did not fire back.
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