Says Seoul as Koreas trade gunfire

Reuters, Seoul
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not undergo surgery during his almost three week absence from public life, South Korean news outlet Yonhap said citing a senior government official, as the two Koreas exchanged gunfire around the border yesterday.

The South Korean official declined to provide reasons for believing that Kim did not undergo surgery, but said speculative reports that he may have had surgery, citing some differences in his leg movements, is not true, Yonhap reported.

Earlier yesterday, North and South Korea exchanged gunfire around the South's guard post, raising tension.

Multiple gunshots were fired from North Korea at 7:41 am local time towards a guard post in South Korea that borders the North, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staffs (JCS) said in a statement.

South Korea responded by firing two shots towards North Korea, no injuries were reported.

After weeks of intense speculation about Kim's health and whereabouts, which included one report he had undergone cardiovascular surgery, North Korea's official media published photographs and a report on Saturday that Kim had attended the completion of a fertiliser plant.

Kim was seen in photographs smiling and talking to aides at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and touring the plant. State TV footage showed Kim's leg movements appearing stiff and jerky.