North and South Korean troops exchange fire along border

Updated: May 04, 2020, 08:58 IST | Agencies | Seoul

A preliminary South Korean analysis showed that the North firing wasn't likely a calculated provocation, though Seoul will continue examining whether there was any motivation for the action, a South Korean defense official said

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (second right) visit the Suchon phosphate fertilizer factory in South Pyongan Province. Pic/AFP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (second right) visit the Suchon phosphate fertilizer factory in South Pyongan Province. Pic/AFP

North and South Korean troops exchanged fire along their tense border on Sunday, the South's military said, the first such incident since the rivals took unprecedented steps to lower front-line animosities in late 2018.

Violent confrontations have occasionally occurred along the border, the world's most heavily fortified. While Sunday's incident is a reminder of persistent tensions, it didn't cause any known casualties on either side and is unlikely to escalate, observers said. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said in a statement that North Korean troops fired several bullets at a South Korean guard post inside the border zone. South Korea responded with a total of 20 rounds of warning shots on two occasions before issuing a warning broadcast, it said.

A preliminary South Korean analysis showed that the North firing wasn't likely a calculated provocation, though Seoul will continue examining whether there was any motivation for the action, a South Korean defense official said. The firing came a day after the North broadcast a video of Kim Jong Un reappearing in public after a 20-day absence.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not undergo surgery or any other medical procedure, a South Korean official said on Sunday, amid speculation about his health that continues to linger even after he reappeared publicly. He refused to provide the basis for the intelligence assessment.

Glad Kim is back and well, says Trump

US President Donald Trump said Saturday he was "glad" about the reappearance of Kim Jong Un and that he is apparently healthy. "I, for one, am glad to see he is back, and well!" Trump tweeted, following Kim's first public appearance in nearly three weeks after rumours that he was seriously ill or possibly dead."

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