Pompeo says gunfire exchange between North, South Korea thought to be 'accidental'

Pompeo says gunfire exchange between North, South Korea thought to be 'accidental'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE said Sunday that the U.S. thinks the gunfire exchanged between North and South Korea was “accidental.”

Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” that he can confirm the initial reports that North Korea fired shots at a South Korean guard tower are “just about right” and that South Korea returned fire. 

“We think those are accidental,” he said, adding, “So far as we can tell, there was no loss of life on either side.”

A South Korean guard post reported that gunshots were fired at it from the North, Sunday morning local time, The Associated Press reported. South Korea responded after a warning with two shots.

Early South Korean analysis indicated that the gunfire was not an intentional provocation.  

The gunfire exchange follows weeks of speculation about North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnUS diplomat says she's concerned about North Korea food shortages linked to pandemic Xi, Kim vow to strengthen North Korea and China's friendship, cooperation North Korea reports 'grave incident' related to COVID-19 MORE’s health status. He reappeared on Saturday after having not been seen in public since April 11.

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Pompeo said the U.S. did not know why the North Korean leader missed his late grandfather’s birthday celebration on April 15.

“We know there have been other extended periods of time where Chairman Kim's been out of public view as well, so it's not unprecedented,” he said.

The secretary of state told ABC he “just can’t say anything about” whether he thinks Kim was gravely ill during the period he was not in the public eye. 

Pompeo also reiterated Sunday the administration’s goal of negotiating with the communist country to give up their nuclear weapons.