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North Korea acted with restraint during guard post shooting, Seoul says

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North Korea acted with restraint during guard post shooting, Seoul says
South Korea’s top diplomat said North Korea committed “minor violations” after a 2020 shooting incident at the Korean demilitarized zone. File Photo by Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 22 (UPI) -- South Korea's foreign minister is coming under fire for downplaying a shooting incident at the Korean demilitarized zone during a press conference.

Chung Eui-yong said Wednesday at the Korea Press Center that North Korea acted with restraint at the heavily guarded border after delivering gunshots.

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On May 3, multiple North Korean gunshots hit a South Korean guard post at the DMZ, prompting South Korea's military to fire back with 30 shots. Four bullet marks were found on the wall of the guard post, South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said at the time.

South Korea reported no injuries, but the incident raised tensions at the border.

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"North Korea committed two minor violations," Chung said Wednesday. "We conducted thorough investigations, but found [the shooting] was carried out with restraint.

"There was evidence the direction of the shooting and its range, was executed very carefully."

The foreign minister also pointed out that "there have been no serious provocations" since that time. North Korea did not conduct nuclear tests or launch long-range ballistic missiles, Chung said, according to Yonhap.

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Chung's comments contradict statements from South Korea's defense ministry. According to local network MBN on Thursday, Seoul's 2020 Defense White Paper stated the shootings were a "clear" violation of a September 2018 military agreement between the two Koreas.

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South Korea's top diplomat did say other North Korean provocations, including the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, were a serious violation.

"North Korea must not only apologize, but also promise to prevent its recurrence," Chung said.

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Seoul must receive compensation for the detonation because the building is national or public property, he added, according to Yonhap.

In June North Korea destroyed the joint liaison office after Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong Un, threatened action against the South. Kim blamed North Korean defectors and their leaflet activism for tensions.

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