North and South Korea exchanged gunfire around the South’s guard post early on Sunday. They were raising tension a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended an almost three-week absence from public life with state media showing him visiting a factory.
Several shots hit South Korean guard post from the North, the joint chiefs of staff (JCS) in Seoul said in a statement, adding no casualties reported in the South. Kim Ki-ho, a former army colonel and defense studies professor at Kyonggi University in Seoul, said North Korea’s latest action seems to be an intended move, rather than an accidental one. ALIVE AND WELL? North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un seen in public after few weeks.
North and South Korea exchanged gunfire
“In past cases, the North tended to notify the South that it was an accident if it was a real accident,” said Kim, who was part of South Korea’s military leadership in charge of the central border in 2003. He said the military would typically see the incident as “a low-key provocation.”
“This time, it looks like a calculated move to dilute various speculation on Kim’s health,” he said. “His reappearance at the fertilizer factory eased speculations on his health, but not enough to kill doubts”. “Our military, through the military communication line, is taking actions with the North to figure out the situation and also to prevent additional actions from taking place, while maintaining military readiness,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
The two Korea’s had previously exchanged fire within the heavily-fortified DMZ, including in 2014, when Kim was unseen in public for more than a month. The last time there was gunfire along the border in 2017 when North Korea sprayed bullets at a soldier fleeing to South Korea.