South Korean soldiers accidentally opened fire near the Korean border

A South Korean soldier made a trigger gun and opened fire near the border with North Korea, prompting Seoul to notify Pyongyang.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said a soldier made a machine gun to pull the trigger while training near the border with North Korea in Gangwon province on the night of January 28. A total of 4 bullets were fired during the incident, all of which fell on Korean soil and caused no damage.

The South Korean military must notify the North that this is an unexpected incident, and at the same time increase the readiness of its forces. 

“We have not detected any unusual signs from the North Korean side and are investigating the circumstances that led to the incident,” the South Korean official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

North Korean officials have not commented on the report. In principle, South Korea and the US-led forces stationed there are still in a state of war with North Korea, because the parties only signed an armistice after the 1950-1953 war, instead of a peace treaty.

The two Koreas are separated by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which is 258 km long and 4 km wide. This is one of the most heavily guarded areas in the world, with a series of guard posts, minefields and dense barbed wire fences.

The last time the two armies exchanged gunfire occurred in the DMZ in May 2020, when North Korean soldiers fired multiple rounds into a guard post on the other side of the border, prompting South Korean soldiers to respond.

North Korea denies submitting weapons to Russia

Pyongyang Washington for “spreading smear rumors” after the US suggested that North Korea was supplying weapons to the Russian company Wagner.

“The United States will face undesirable consequences if it continues to spread rumors. Trying to smear North Korea’s image by painting things that don’t exist is a serious act of aggression and cannot be done.

 acceptable and will lead to our response,” Kwon Jong-gun, director of the Department of American Affairs at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said today.

The comments came after US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby last week released images of suspected Russian trains entering North Korea, receiving missiles and infantry weapons and then returning home. US officials said the weapons were transferred to the Russian private security company Wagner, which they said was a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

“It is a foolish attempt to justify the US arms carrying to Ukraine,” Kwon added. US officials and allies have repeatedly asserted that North Korea is submitting for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

US  intelligence in September 2022 said that Russia was looking to buy millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea due to a “severe supply shortage”. 

At the end of December 2022, the White House announced that “North Korea has completed its first weapons delivery to the Wagner group.”

North Korea and Russia have both denied the allegations. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said US intelligence information was “fake news”, while boss Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that North Korea’s transfer of weapons to the company was “rumor and conjecture”.

North Korea maintains close ties with Russia, as much of Europe and the West impose sanctions on Moscow for its military campaign in Ukraine.

Pyongyang also accused the United States of being the cause of the crisis in Ukraine and called the West’s “hegemonic” policy the reason Russia had to launch a military campaign to defend itself.

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