Monday, October 27, 2008

Koreas hold talks, while more anti-North leaflets planned

Military officers from the divided Koreas held talks on Monday aimed at easing tension, while South Korean activists are meanwhile planning to send anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North despite heated protests from the communist state.

North Korea asked for the meeting last week, saying it wanted to discuss military hotlines, but officials in the South expect the North to use the forum to complain about the leaflets. (The two sides have set up hotlines in order to prevent hostilities along one of the world's most militarized borders from escalating into fighting.)

The North's official cabinet newspaper said last week the leaflets were "getting on the nerves of the army and people of the DPRK (North Korea)," and could lead to fighting.

South Korean groups have been sending the leaflets, which travel by balloon into the North, for years. Analysts said the recent wave appears to have touched a nerve because they mention a taboo subject in the North -- the health of leader Kim Jong-il.

The 100,000 leaflets to be released, printed on plastic sheets and in water-proof ink, will carry the names of South Korean civilians and prisoners of war believed to be held in the North, and a family tree that supposedly maps Kim's relationships with the several women who bore his children.


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