On Sunday, gunshots were fired at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea. No casualties were reported.
This marks the latest confrontation between the two states.
North and South Korea have technically been at war for nearly the past 70 years since only a truce was signed in 1953, at the conclusion of what is commonly known as the Korean War.
The source also stated that according to their assessments, Kim Jong Un did not undergo any major or minor medical treatment. This is in reference to various reports surrounding the leader’s health and any medical procedures he has had done, speculation of which ranges from a cardiovascular operation to leg surgery.
The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that shots were first fired from the North towards a guard post in the South. The South then responded by firing two shots back at the North.
After weeks of rumors and speculation surrounding Kim’s health and prognosis, state media released photos, statements and videos of Kim at a recently completed fertilizer plant. However, in the footage released, Kim’s leg movements appear stiff and jerky.
If Kim is indeed alive, this would not be the first time that the leader has disappeared from the international public eye.
After not making any appearances for over a month in 2014, Kim reemerged holding a cane.
Nonetheless, the authenticity of the recently released photos cannot be independently verified.
The United States-led UN Command, which oversees affairs in the DMZ, said it would work with the JCS to “conduct a thorough investigation tomorrow to determine if there was an Armistice Agreement violation, and will provide the report to the appropriate authorities once completed.”
Choi Kang, the vice president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said the combination of the state media announcement and this incident led him to believe that Kim is trying to remind the world that “yes I’m healthy and I’m still in power.”
Reclusive North Korea is so isolated that United States Intelligence did not learn about the 2011 death of Kim Jong Il, Kim’s father, until 48 hours after it had occurred.
With Kim’s health the topic of much recent speculation, talks of succession have focused largely on his sister, Kim Yo Jong, while the fate of the nation’s nuclear weaponry in such a case would be uncertain.
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