/North Korea and South Korea exchange gunfire in Demilitarised Zone | World News

North Korea and South Korea exchange gunfire in Demilitarised Zone | World News

North Korea and South Korea have exchanged gunfire around a southern guard post – the first time there has been gunfire at the border since 2017.

The shots were fired across the border by North Korean troops at 7.41am and South Korea responded by broadcasting a warning and firing two shots at the North, according to the South’s joint chiefs of staff.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported the office as saying: “Our military is in the process of grasping the situation with the North through the military communication line and preventing further situations from occurring.”

No injuries were reported in South Korea, although it is not known if there were any casualties for the North.

When the Korean War ended in 1953, the two sides only signed a truce, not a peace treaty, meaning they are technically still at war.

The border between the two countries – the Demilitarised Zone – is guarded by barbed wire fences, tank traps and combat troops on both sides.

It also has an estimated two million mines along it.

The last time there was gunfire at the border was in 2017, when North Koreans fired on a soldier trying to defect to the South.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits a fertilizer factory in South Pyongan, near Pyongyang, North Korea
Kim Jong Un was surrounded by officials during his visit to a fertiliser plant

The latest rise in tension comes after weeks of speculation about the health of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Mr Kim had been absent from public life since 11 April until he was photographed visiting a fertiliser plant during the weekend.

There had been reports that the leader, who is obese and a heavy smoker, was gravely ill following surgery last month.

According to the state media’s report, the 36-year-old had expressed satisfaction about the factory’s production levels, cut a ribbon, and was met with “thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!'”.

He was with several senior officials, including his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, who is expected to take over if her brother is suddenly unable to rule.

US President Donald Trump said he was “glad to see (Mr Kim) back and well”.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

There were questions about his health after he missed the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung on 15 April.

This is a major holiday in North Korea and he would usually visit the mausoleum where his grandfather lies in state.

Instead, he was absent for the first time since taking power in 2011.

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