North Korea threatens retaliation if defectors’ leaflets are launched from South

A group of South Korean activists plans to launch 200,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets slung from gas-filled balloons into North Korea from a site near the border despite retaliatory threats from North Korea. Civic groups in the South regularly float leaflets over the border with messages criticizing the Kim dynasty and urging the North Korean people to rise up against repression.

The North’s official Internet website Uriminzokkiri reads: “We will never sit by idly as a vicious provocative act, openly backed by South Korean authorities, is being committed against us at a time when our athletes are taking part in the Asian Games” [hosted by Seoul].

North Korea’s military warned it would immediately “wipe out” those “provocateurs” and their supporters if they push through with such launches. These were not “simply empty” words, the website warned. “Should puppet authorities instigate so-called ‘defectors’ to push through with the leaflet launch, there would be unpredictable consequences,” it added.

But South Korean activists said they would not flinch at the threats. “Let the North rage in anger and scream. We will do it as planned”, Park Sang-Hak who leads the activists’ group told AFP.

The warning came days after North Korea sent a rare message to the South Korean president’s office, demanding an end to such anti-Pyongyang leaflets. The message, addressed to the presidential Blue House, was sent through a military hotline on Monday by the North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC).

It urged Seoul to stop anti-North activists sending leaflets over the border, saying action would have to be taken before the North would consider the South’s recent proposal for high-level talks.

North Korea has sent 150 athletes for the Asian Games, who are being guarded by hundreds of South Korean security personnel.

[AFP]

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