Thursday, March 24, 2011

North Korean defectors continue unhampered balloon propaganda

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Thursday that it would not intervene in a plan by North Korean defectors here to fly anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the North, a day after the communist state renewed its threat to strike South Korea’s propaganda apparatus.

“We have no plan to call on them to refrain (from sending anti-North propaganda leaflets),” a ministry official told reporters, refusing to be named. “In the past, we had requested that the groups refrain from flying them, in light of the possible impact on inter-Korean ties. However, since March 26 when the Cheonan sank after an attack (by the North), we have not made any special request.”

In an interview with the official Korean Central News Agency, an unidentified North Korean commander warned “From a military perspective, psychological warfare is an act of war. If the South does not want to see the repeat of the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, it should stop all psychological warfare activities immediately and behave discreetly.”
Some 20 groups of North Korean defectors plan to send some 200,000 leaflets and memory sticks that contain videos, designed to enlighten North Koreans living in the tightly-controlled society with little access to outside information. The leaflets include messages pinpointing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as the culprit for the sinking that killed 46 sailors; criticizing the lavish lifestyle of his three sons; and comparing Kim with other autocratic rulers such as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Park Sang-hak, chief of the Fighters for Free North Korea, which leads the upcoming leaflet-sending event, said that he and other North Korean defectors would not be intimidated. “We will carry out the plan to send the leaflets as scheduled. The threat from the North is just a bluff and we don’t need to be intimidated by that,” he told reporters.

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