North Korea defectors criticised over speculation Kim was ill or dead

North Korea defectors criticised over speculation Kim was ill or dead

North Korea defectors criticised over speculation Kim was ill or dead

The rare exchange of gunfire comes a day after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had made his first public appearance in almost three weeks following an absence that triggered intense speculation about his health and fears about the stability of the isolated nation.

The blunders highlight the difficulty of getting reliable information on secretive North Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said the gunfire was not intentional.

A fresh mark on Kim Jong-un's arm corroborates earlier reports about his alleged heart surgery, some medical experts suggested after footage of the North Korean leader's most recent public outing was published by local media.

"So there's not much I can share with you, other than we've seen the same images from yesterday that the world saw", Pompeo said.

Talks have been stalled since Kim and President Donald Trump failed to reach an agreement during a February 2019 summit in Vietnam.

North Korea has ended all speculation about dictator Kim Jong Un.

Since U.S. -North Korea talks stalled past year, Mr. Kim has personally presided over numerous short-range missile tests, but has resisted a return to long-range missile and nuclear testing suspended since 2017.

The last time there was gunfire at the border was in 2017, when North Koreans fired on a soldier trying to defect to the South.

"Regardless of what transpires inside of North Korea with respect to their leadership, our mission remains the same - to deliver on that commitment that Chairman Kim made with President Trump".

North Korea hasn't explained Kim's absence, including why he missed the April 15 commemoration of the birthday anniversary of his late grandfather and North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung.

"We also sent a notice to the North Korean side via the inter-Korean communication line at around 9:35 a.m., and called for its explanation", a JCS officer said.

While it appeared to be a signal to domestic audiences he is watching out for their well-being, nuclear analysts believe the plant could be part of covert uranium enrichment efforts for North Korea's nuclear program.

There had been reports that the leader, who is obese and a heavy smoker, was gravely ill following surgery last month.

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