Pompeo says initial reports show shots fired from North Korea were 'accidental'
CNN-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the initial reports on the shots fired from North Korea into South Korea on Sunday morning indicate they were "accidental."
"I've seen that reporting too. I've seen some of our internal information as well. We can confirm at least the initial reports are that you've described are just about right. A handful of shots that came across from the North. We think those were accidental. South Koreans did return fire so far as we can tell there was no loss of life on either side," Pompeo said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
North Korea fired gunshots at the wall of a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a buffer area which separates the two countries, on Sunday, and the South fired back, according to its military.
The reports come a day after President Donald Trump appeared to confirm that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "alive and well," and retweeted North Korean state media photos of Kim attending a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory.
A US official told CNN on Saturday that the current analysis from multiple threads of intelligence is that the photos published by North Korean state media showing Kim at a fertilizer plant opening are legitimate. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the photograph or video or the date it was shot.
Questions regarding Kim's health were initially raised after he missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15. He had been seen four days before that at a politburo meeting, according to North Korean state media, KCNA.
CNN previously reported that the United States was monitoring intelligence that Kim was "in grave danger after a surgery," according to a US official. Another US official told CNN Monday that the concerns about Kim's health are credible, but their severity was hard to assess.
On Sunday, Pompeo was tight-lipped regarding Kim's health.
"We don't know why he chose to miss that moment. We know there've been other extended periods of time where Chairman Kim's been out of public view as well, so it's not unprecedented. So there's not much I can share with you other than we've seen the same images from yesterday that the world saw. It looks like Chairman Kim is alive and well," Pompeo said.
"Regardless of any of that, our mission is, remains the same -- to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons, to verify the same and to then create a brighter future for the North Korean people."
Asked if he was gravely ill during the period where Kim was out of public view, Pompeo would only say that "I just can't say anything about that." He also refused to say whether the US had any information about whether Kim's situation was connected to Covid-19 or a heart issue.
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