North Korea-South Korea: Exchange of fire on borders
Defence Redefined
Published on 03/05/2020 at 10:44

Men of the armed forces of North and South Korea exchanged fire on the border, something which marks an escalation of tension. This occurred a day after the first public appearance of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after almost three weeks.

The South Korean National Defence General Staff announced that at 7:41 a.m. local time, an outpost was under fire on the border. According to the same source, South Korean soldiers retaliated by firing twice. No injuries were reported.

In a statement, the South Korean military said that North Korea’s fire was “not intentional” , according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

After weeks of rumors and scenarios about where Kim was and his state of health, North Korean state media reported yesterday that the leader of the People’s Republic had inaugurated a fertilizer factory. It was his first public appearance since April 11.

The exchange of fire is the latest confrontation between the two countries, which typically remain at war.

Choi Kang, vice president of the Asian Institute for Political Studies, said the timing of the incident showed that Kim was still in charge of the North Korean military.

“Yesterday, Kim was trying to show that he is perfectly healthy, and today Kim is trying to silence all sorts of speculation that he may not have full control of the military,” Choi said. “Instead of going all the way to launching missiles and overseeing their launch, Kim may just remind us, ‘Yes, I’m healthy and I’m in power.'”

Leif-Eric Isley, a professor of international relations at Ewha University in Seoul, said the fire incident may have aimed at boosting the morale of the North Korean military.

“Kim’s regime may want to boost morale in front-line troops and regain any bargaining chip in the weeks leading up to the rumors of the leader’s absence”, Isley said. “South Korea and the United States should not unequivocally take such violations of the existing military agreements on the part of North Korea”.




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