North and South Korea exchanged gunfire across the South’s guard post early on Sunday, elevating rigidity a day after North Korean chief Kim Jong-un ended an nearly three-week absence from public life with state media exhibiting him visiting a manufacturing facility.
Multiple gunshots have been fired from North Korea at 7:41 a.m. native time towards a guard post in South Korea that borders the North, the South’s joint chiefs of staffs stated in a press release.
South Korea responded by firing two photographs towards North Korea; no accidents have been reported.
After weeks of intense hypothesis about Kim’s well being and whereabouts, the nation’s official media printed images and a report on Saturday that Kim had attended the completion of a fertilizer plant, the primary report of his look since April 11.
Kim was seen in images smiling and speaking to aides at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and touring the plant. The authenticity of the pictures, printed on the web site of the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, couldn’t be verified.
The exchange of gunshots was the newest confrontation between the rival Koreas that technically stay at battle.
Choi Kang, vp of the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, says the timing of the “gray space” provocation exhibits Kim continues to be in control of the North Korean navy.
“Yesterday, Kim was attempting to indicate he’s completely wholesome, and right this moment, Kim is attempting to mute every kind of hypothesis that he might not have full management over the navy,” Choi stated.
“Rather than going all the best way by firing missiles and supervising a missile launch, Kim might be reminding us, ‘sure — wholesome and — nonetheless in energy.'”
Ewha University worldwide affairs professor Leif-Eric Easley in Seoul stated the capturing incident might be aimed at boosting morale within the North Korean navy.
“The Kim regime could also be seeking to increase morale of its frontline troops and to regain any negotiating leverage misplaced in the course of the rumour-filled weeks of the chief’s absence,” stated Easley.
“South Korea and the United States shouldn’t take calmly such North Korean violations of present navy agreements.”