UN probe: Both Koreas violate armistice in gunfire exchange

The DMZ, which was established as a buffer at the end of the Korean War, is a de facto border separating North and South Korea. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 May 2020

UN probe: Both Koreas violate armistice in gunfire exchange

  • The gunfire exchange was the first shooting inside the Korean Demilitarized Zone in about 2½ years
  • There were no known casualties on either side

SEOUL, South Korea: A UN investigation into a recent exchange of gunfire between the two Koreas has determined that both countries violated the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, the American-led UN Command said Tuesday.
The May 3 gunfire exchange was the first shooting inside the Korean Demilitarized Zone in about 2½ years, but there were no known casualties on either side.
The DMZ, which was established as a buffer at the end of the Korean War, is a de facto border separating North and South Korea. It is officially jointly overseen by North Korea and the UN Command.
The UN Command said in a statement that a multinational special investigation team led the probe with the full cooperation of the South Korean military. It said it invited North Korea to provide information on the incident but the country hasn’t offered a formal response.
The investigation ruled that North Korea breached the armistice by firing four rounds and South Korea by returning fire, according to the statement. It said the investigation was unable to determine if the North Korean rounds were fired intentionally or by mistake.
The UN Command said the terms of the armistice agreement are in place to minimize the risk of incidents such as gunfire exchange.
South Korean officials earlier said they fired warning shots toward North Korea after four bullets fired by the North hit one of its front-line guard posts.
Unlike its name, the DMZ is the world’s most heavily fortified border, guarded by mines, barbed wire fences and combat troops on both sides. Gunfire exchanges inside the DMZ are not unusual, but no deadly clashes have occurred in recent years. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea.
The recent incident came amid a deadlock in negotiations between North Korean and US officials on the North’s nuclear weapons program.


India overtakes Russia to become world’s third highest for virus cases

Updated 06 July 2020

India overtakes Russia to become world’s third highest for virus cases

  • The health ministry said 697,358 cases had now been recorded, a rise of 24,000 in the last 24 hours
  • India has registered 19,963 deaths from the virus

NEW DELHI: India announced Monday that it has nearly 700,000 coronavirus cases, taking it past Russia to become the third-hardest-hit nation in the global pandemic.
The health ministry said 697,358 cases had now been recorded, a rise of 24,000 in 24 hours, while Russia has just over 681,000.
The United States and Brazil have the highest numbers of cases but India’s tally is not expected to peak for several more weeks and experts predict the one million figure will be passed this month.

India has registered 19,963 deaths from the virus, a much lower number than many other badly hit countries.
India’s major cities have been worst hit by the pandemic. New Delhi and Mumbai each have about 100,000 cases, with 3,000 dead in the capital and nearly 5,000 in Mumbai.
New Delhi has opened a new 10,000-bed temporary virus hospital while other cities are tightening restrictions on movement to head off a new surge in cases.
The Kerala state capital, Thiruvananthapuram imposed a new lockdown from Monday with public transport shut and only pharmacies allowed to open. The clampdown came after hundreds of new cases were reported across the state, which had been praised for its action to curtail the pandemic.