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N. Korea fires gunshots to South Korean guard posts

Posted May. 04, 2020 07:50,   

Updated May. 04, 2020 07:50


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended his 20-day absence in public events on Saturday that would ease concern on his health. One day after his appearance in public, however, North Korean army fired gunshots to South Korea’s front-line guard posts at the demilitarized zone. Experts say that Pyongyang is trying to seize control on the Korean Peninsula through provocations and rumors about his health.

According to media outlets including the Rodong Sinmun, the North Korean leader attended the opening ceremony of a fertilizer factory in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province on Friday. He has been absent for the past 20 days at major events, including the North’s founding father Kim Il Sung’s birth on April 15 after presiding an Executive Committee meeting on April 11. On Friday’s news covering, the Rodong Sinmun published photos of Kim walking alone or smoking. The 36-year-old leader rode on a moving cart and limped slightly, but he certainly did not seem to be in a critical condition.

One day after his appearance, however, North Korean troops fired multiple gunshots to South Korea’s guard posts, to which South Korean army fired warning shots. It is the first time that North Korea shot towards South Korea at the demilitarized zone after the two Koreas signed a military agreement on September 19, 2018.

According to the South Korean army, around 7:41 a.m. Sunday, bullets flew across the central forward area of the DMZ in Cheorwon, Gangwon on Sunday to the guard posts of South Korea. The South Korean army found the traces of gunshots on the outer wall of guard posts before firing two rounds of warning shots (some 10 shots in a round) and broadcast a warning. There was no additional provocation from the North, and the South Korean army is analyzing the background of the gunfire.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com