North Korea and South Korea exchange gunfire in Demilitarised Zone

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a military drill at undisclosed location in North Korea

South Korea: Kim did not have surgery amid lingering rumors

The shooting occurred a day after the North released photos and video of leader Kim Jong Un attending the opening of a fertilizer factory, tamping down speculation about his health after a almost three-week absence from the public eye.

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

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported the office as saying: "Our military is in the process of grasping the situation with the North through the military communication line and preventing further situations from occurring".

"I doubt well ever have much clarity on what Kim did over the past couple of weeks and the anxiety it caused sparked some real questions about how prepared we are prepared to deal with this kind of circumstance", said Jenny Town of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea analysis project. "That is something that should be addressed".

He said Washington had given Beijing assurances that if USA forces ever had to cross into North Korea, they would not stay there and would return across the border into South Korea.

After the emergence of these new photos and footage, US President Donald Trump said he was "glad" about the reappearance of Mr Kim.

Kim disappeared from state media for three weeks, an unusually long time, sparking a flurry of speculation about his health and whereabouts, and worry about prospects for the nuclear-armed state in the event of an unexpected succession.

North Korean state media released this image they say is of leader Kim Jong-un at the fertiliser plant
North Korean state media released this image they say is of leader Kim Jong-un at the fertiliser plant

It says South Korea suffered no casualties.

Kim, 36, is the third generation of his family to govern North Korea with an iron fist that tolerates no dissent.

The professional explained the puncture was "often used for access to the coronary arteries for stent placement".

Speculation about his health began swirling after he missed an April 15 event commemorating the birthday of his grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, something he had never done since inheriting power upon his father Kim Jong Il's death in late 2011.

It was formed as a buffer after the end of the Korean War in 1953 and is jointly overseen by North Korea and the US-led UN Command.

The choice of venue for Mr. Kim's reemergence was concerning for US denuclearisation aims.

Daily NK first reported on April 21 that the North Korean leader had undergone a cardiovascular surgery.

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