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North and South Korea Violated Armistice During Gunfire Exchange at DMZ, UN Says

A directional sign showing the distance to N. Korea's Kaesong city and S. Korea's capital Seoul is seen near the wire fences decorated with ribbons written with reunification wishing at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, S. Korea, May 26, 2020.

Both North and South Korea were at fault when they exchanged gunfire earlier this month across their heavily fortified shared border, according to a probe by the United Nations Command.

A report issued Tuesday by the U.S.-led U.N. Command said the incident breached the armistice that ended fighting in the 1950-53 Korean war.

The report said North Korea breached the armistice on May 3 when it fired four small-arms rounds that struck a South Korean guard post. The report said South Korean troops violated the pact when they responded with two volleys of gunfire.

But the U.N. Command was unable to determine if North Korea opened fire “intentionally or by mistake.” The report said North Korea was invited to take part in the investigation, but has not offered an official response.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry issued a statement saying it regretted the findings by the U.N. Command without properly investigating the North’s actions. The ministry says its soldiers were following proper procedures spelled out in a response manual when they responded to the North’s gunfire.

The U.N. Command oversees activity along the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, that serves as a buffer between North and South Korea. The two sides remain in a technical state of war as they have not reached a formal peace treaty.