Jung Yeon-Je / AFP via Getty Images
South Korean officials are blaming their neighbors to the north after gunfire was exchanged briefly over the weekend at the Demilitarized Zone.
Gunshots from the nuclear hermit state were fired at a South Korean guard tower in the DMZ Sunday, and South Korean guards later returned fire.
No injuries were reported and there was no substantial damage to the guard tower.
The incident reportedly occurred at 7:41 a.m. local time.
After taking fire, South Korean guards, following protocol, broadcasted a verbal warning before firing off 20 rounds of warning shots.
An official from South Korea told CNN “the military is in the process of identifying situations over the military communication line with the North and preventing any additional situations from occurring.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he believed the initial gunfire from North Korea might have been “accidental.”
“We think those are accidental,” Pompeo told ABC News. “South Koreans did return fire. So far as we can tell, there was no loss of life on either side.”
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ABC reported that after the exchange of gunfire, farmers in the area were going about their business as usual.
According to Fox News, Sunday’s exchange of gunfire was the first at the DMZ since 2017.
During that incident, North Korean troops fired a volley of rounds at a defector and attempted to blame the incident on South Korea.
That person survived and is currently alive and well in South Korea after being shot five times.
Sunday’s incident comes amid weeks of speculation about the health of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who was reported brain dead by NBC’s Katy Tur last month.
I’ve deleted that last tweet out of an abundance of caution. Waiting on more info. Apologies.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) April 21, 2020
Other outlets, such as TMZ, reported that Kim had died, but those reports were never corroborated.
Images released over the weekend appeared to show Kim alive and well and walking in public.
#breaking North Korean state TV airs video of Kim Jong Un’s first public appearance in 3 weeks, at the ribbon cutting of a new fertilizer factory outside of Pyongyang. He’s seen walking, smiling, even smoking. We may never know what happened these last 20 days, but KJU is back. pic.twitter.com/VaIXqYhQzT
— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) May 2, 2020
A U.S. official speaking to CNN evaluated the images and described them as “legitimate.”
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