Koreas trade gunfire near border as Seoul says Kim did not undergo surgery

North and South Korean forces traded gunfire near the nations' border on Sunday as a news outlet in Seoul reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnThe foreign policy canyon between Americans over China Blessing for Trump: a campaign devoid of foreign policy Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now' MORE did not undergo surgery during the weeks-long period he spent out of the public eye.

A guard post reported in the South that multiple gunshots were fired toward it from the North around 7:41 a.m. local time, and South Korean guards responded with two shots. No injuries were reported by South Korea, and Seoul defense officials said North Korea was unlikely to have suffered casualties either, according to The Associated Press.

A preliminary analysis by South Korean officials indicated the approximately 20 shots from North Korea were likely not a deliberate provocation, although a South Korean defense official told the AP that Seoul will continue to analyze the potential motivations.


Meanwhile, South Korean news outlet Yonhap cited an official in Seoul who said speculation based on what appeared to be differences in Kim’s leg movement since he emerged in public is inaccurate, Reuters reported.

Kim made his first public appearance Saturday in a North Korean video broadcast after 20 days, with state media saying the leader attended a ceremony commemorating the completion of a fertilizer factory near Pyongyang. Kim had previously not been seen since a meeting of the Workers’ Party on April 11, with his absence over the following weeks prompting speculation that he had died or was in failing health, particularly after he missed an April 15 birthday celebration for his late grandfather Kim Il Sung.

Choi Kang, vice president of the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, told Reuters the appearance and the gunfire are likely connected.

“Yesterday, Kim was trying to show he is perfectly healthy, and today, Kim is trying to mute all kinds of speculation that he may not have full control over the military,” Choi told the news service. “Rather than going all the way by firing missiles and supervising a missile launch, Kim could be reminding us, ‘yes I’m healthy and I’m still in power.’”