US Sec. Pompeo says Shots Fired From NKorea Believed To Be 'Accidental'

(AFP / ABC) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said shots fired Sunday from North Korea towards the South in the DMZ that divides the peninsula were believed to have been "accidental."

"Handful of shots came across from the north; we think those were accidental," he said on ABC's "This Week."

"South Koreans did return fire. There was no loss of life on either side," he added.

The border incident came a day after North Korean state media said Kim Jong Un had made his first public appearance after a nearly three-week unexplained absence from public view.

Pompeo declined to comment on what the US knew about the North Korean leader's absence, or whether it was linked to a rumoured health issue.

"We have seen the same images from yesterday that the world saw. It looks like Chairman Kim is alive and well," he said.

"Our mission remains the same, to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons and create a brighter future for the North Korean people."

The young leader cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of a new fertilizer plant, dispelling rumors that he was dead or in “grave condition.”

When pressed by Raddatz to reveal if he ever knew that Kim was gravely ill, Pompeo said, “I just can’t say anything about that.”

He also refused to answer whether Kim was suffering from COVID-19 or a cardiovascular problem.

Talks to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have been all but dead for months and Kim has announced his intention to pursue new nuclear and missile testing. Working-level negotiators last met in October, but neither side has been willing to move first, leaving them deadlocked.

In the meantime, North Korea continues to advance its nuclear weapons program. But Trump continues to tout his relationship with Kim and point to a lack of long-range missile testing as signs of a successful policy.

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