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North and South Korean Troops Exchange Gunfire at Border

No casualties were reported after exchange of gunfire in demilitarized zone.
by FM Ganal
May 3, 2020
Photo/s: By Johannes Barre, iGEL (talk) via Wikimedia Commons

North Korean and South Korean troops exchanged gunfire at the border town of Cherwon, South Korea, this Sunday, May 3, 2020, at 7.41 a.m.

The shots from North Korea hit a South Korean guard post in the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

The Korean DMZ is the heavily fortified border that divides North and South Korea.

In response, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said their soldiers shot "two rounds of gunfire and a warning announcement" as instructed by protocol.

No casualty or damage to equipment on either side was reported.

The reason for the firing of the first gunshots by North Korea is still unclear, but Bloomberg reports that the two opposing sides are currently in talks via a military communication line.

This exchange of gunfire comes a day after North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was reported by the Korean Central News Agency, which is the state media of North Korean, to have made his first public appearance yesterday, May 2. 

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Before May 2, Kim had not been seen publicly for 20 days.

However, the North Korean news agency did not release any photograph of the leader, and no international news outlet could give independent confirmation of Kim's appearance. 

Days earlier, reports had circulated in the Western media that Kim was in a "fragile condition" and in "grave danger" following a cardiovascular procedure in April 12.

Of the May 2 exchange of gunfire, the BBC reports that this is the first time in five years that North Korea has fired direct shots at the South.

The Korean Demilitarized Zone was established in 1953 after the war. 

The Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty. 

In 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to ease military tension at the border at a summit held in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(Photo of a part of the DMZ taken in May 2005, by Johannes Barre, iGEL, via Wikimedia Commons.)

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