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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

All News 16:00 May 08, 2020

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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Multiple gunshots from N. Korea hit S. Korean border guard post: JCS

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) -- Several gunshots from North Korea hit a South Korean guard post inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Sunday, prompting the South to fire back, but the North's firings do not appear to have been intentional, an official said.

South Korean soldiers on guard duty at the unit in the central border town of Cheorwon heard gunshots at around 7:41 a.m. and found four bullet marks on a wall of the guard post, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In accordance with the response manual, the military then fired a total of 20 shots in response -- 10 rounds each time -- and issued broadcast warnings, it added. No casualties or damage to South Korean facilities were reported.

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Kim Jong-un appears not to have undergone surgery: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears not to have undergone surgery, a presidential official said Sunday, flatly denying speculation over Kim's health.

"There were media reports speculating about Chairman Kim's surgery, citing a change in the way he walks," a senior Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters, saying the presidential office judges this not to be true.

When asked whether the North Korean leader did not even go through a relatively moderate medical procedure, the official replied yes.

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N. Korea stays mum on S. Korea's call for explanation of DMZ gunfire: ministry

SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has not responded yet to South Korea's call for an explanation on Sunday's firing of several bullets that hit a South Korean guard post on the inter-Korean border, Seoul's defense ministry said Monday.

On early Sunday, four bullets from the North hit the South's guard post in the central part of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Cheorwon, Gangwon Province, prompting South Korean troops to respond by firing 20 rounds of warning shots and issuing broadcast warnings, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Following the incident, the South's military sent a notice via the military communication line, lodging a protest, calling for an explanation and urging the regime to stop acts that violate the inter-Korean military accord, the defense ministry said.

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State-run think tank proposes signing free trade deal with N. Korea

SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea should sign a free trade deal with North Korea to accelerate reform in the communist nation and to help it integrate into the international market, a state-run think tank said Monday.

The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) made the suggestion in a report on inter-Korean economic cooperation, saying such an accord will create an environment for stable cross-border economic cooperation amid international sanctions on Pyongyang.

"The new inter-Korean economic cooperation should be aimed at supporting North Korea to normalize its foreign relations and enter the international regime," the report said. "It will be necessary to conclude an inter-Korean CEPA in order to create a stable inter-Korean economic cooperation environment."

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UNC drawing up report on DMZ gunfire case after field inspection

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- The U.S.-led United Nations Command is drawing up a report on a recent border shooting incident between South and North Korea after a field inspection into the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone, officials said Wednesday.

On Sunday, four bullets from North Korea hit a South Korean guard post in the central part of the DMZ in Cheorwon, Gangwon Province, prompting South Korean troops to fire back, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

UNC, which administers the DMZ and enforces the armistice agreement that halted the 1950-53 Korean War, conducted an investigation on Monday, and has been writing a report of its analysis, military officials said.

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Unification minister visits Panmunjom just days after DMZ gunfire

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul visited the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom on Wednesday, just days after South and North Korea exchanged gunfire at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two sides.

The unification ministry said Kim's visit was not related to the recent gunfire and was aimed at assessing preparations for the planned resumption of tours to the truce village, which have been suspended since the outbreak of African swine fever last year.

On early Sunday, four bullets from the North hit the South's guard post in the central part of the DMZ in Cherwon, prompting South Korean troops to respond by firing back and issuing broadcast warnings, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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