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NK Machine Gun Shots at Frontline Deemed ‘Misfire’

Posted November. 05, 2010 11:08,   


The South Korean military and the United Nations Command say machine gun shots fired Friday by North Korea at the South’s military guard post in Cheorwon County, Gangwon Province, was an “accidental misfire,” sources said Thursday.

A Seoul official said, “Through its own investigation, the military secured a string of substantial evidence suggesting that the incident was an accidental misfire.”

“I understand that the U.N. Command, which conducted an onsite inspection to check whether the North violated the armistice, will announce that a probe concluded that the firing was a misfire as early as Friday.”

The U.N. Command is known to have discovered evidence that led military officials to conclude the firing as a misfire. Of the two shots, the first hit a thermal observation device installed at the South’s guard post while the other shot fell at a site nearby. Had the North aimed for the guard post, the two shots would have hit spots close to each other.

In addition, the North’s guard post unit that opened fire at the South was replaced and deployed to the military demarcation line a week before the firing. When surveillance troops are replaced, they generally inspect weapons installed at guard posts, including 14.5-millimeter machine guns, and a misfire is not uncommon in the process.

Two North Korean officers were seen calling out and beating a soldier who presumably fired the machine gun. The Seoul official said, “The beating might have been punishment for the soldier’s misfire.”

“The timing of the firing was immediately after the change from day to night shift by the South Korean military,” the official said. “Our senior petty officer was patrolling a barbed wire on the border, and upon hearing two shots, he inspected the site around the guard post and confirmed that one of the shots hit the thermal observation device.”

“Under the device, the petty officer picked up 14.5-millimeter bullets used by the North Korean military.”

Three shots the South Korean military fired in response to the North’s firing hit gun ports at the North’s guard post. The South’s military fired retaliatory shots and broadcast warnings twice while issuing an emergency alert in the area.

Because of no unusual hints of movement afterwards, the military lifted the alert three hours later.