North Korean troops fired several shots south on Sunday in the demilitarized zone that divides the peninsula, causing the South Korean armed forces to shoot back, Seoul said.
The rare shootout comes a day after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had appeared publicly for the first time in nearly three weeks after an absence that sparked intense speculation about his health and fears about the stability of the isolated nation.
A South Korean guard was hit by several shots from the north, the joint chiefs of staff (JCS) said in a statement in Seoul. No victims were reported in the south.
"Our military responded with two firearms and a warning," said the JCS.
The South Korean military later said the North Korean shots were "not intended," the Yonhap news agency said.
The two neighbors were technically at war after the end of the Korean War with an armistice in 1953. Despite its name, the demilitarized zone is one of the most fortified places on earth with minefields and barbed wire fences.
Reducing military tensions at their border was one of the agreements that Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in reached at a summit in Pyongyang in September 2018.
However, most of the business was not carried out by North Korea as Pyongyang largely cut off contact with Seoul.
North Korea's talks with the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal have also stalled despite three meetings between Kim and US President Donald Trump.
Uncertainty about the process would have increased if Kim had been incapable of acting or dead, as rumored in the past few weeks.
However, North Korean state television showed Kim walking, smiling broadly, and smoking a cigarette when a fertilizer factory opened on Friday.
Donald Trump said on Saturday that he was pleased with Kim's reappearance and that the North Korean leader appeared to be healthy.
"Anyway, I'm glad to see he's back, and good!" The president tweeted.
Before Kim reappeared, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that he was still confident that a nuclear deal could be concluded with North Korea.
"Regardless of what is happening within North Korea regarding its leadership, our mission remains the same – to honor the commitment that Chairman Kim made to President Trump … (confirmed) denuclearization of North Korea," Pompeo told reporters.
"We are still confident that we can find a way to negotiate this solution to achieve the outcome that is good for the American people, good for the North Korean people, and for the whole world."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)