North and South Korean soldiers exchanged heavy gunfire after an anti-Pyongyang protest. Protesters on Friday released balloons carrying leaflets to North Korea that demand "freedom and democratic unification".

Last month, the government in Pyongyang warned that sending propaganda leaflets into North Korea would be considered a "grave provocation".

So, how could it have gone so wrong so quickly?

Earlier this month, three high ranking officials from North Korea made a rare and unannounced visit to South Korea, raising hopes of restarting a process of reconciliation.

But then on Friday, the balloon protest derailed all that. But how could a bunch balloons carrying leaflets lead so quickly to gunfire? And could the latest violence spiral out of control?

Presenter: Fauziah Ibrahim


Robert Kelly - a professor of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University.

John Everard - a former UK ambassador to North Korea and former co-ordinator of a panel of experts on North Korea at the United Nations.

Moon Chung-in - a professor of political science at Yonsei University and former advisor to South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.

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