Activists in South Korea released balloons carrying thousands of leaflets into North Korea today, going against the wishes of their government and many of their fellow citizens. The leaflets, which included messages critical of Kim Jong-Un, could be the catalyst that sparks fresh conflict between the two nations.
Residents along the border struggled to stop the activists from spreading the leaflets. However, they were unable to stop a group of North Korean defectors from launching about 20,000 leaflets, though it is uncertain if the balloons made it into North Korea.
Warnings were issued from North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, promising a military response to any propaganda dropped from the balloons.
The dropping of leaflets from South Korea is not a new phenomenon. One of the most recent occurrences happened just a few weeks ago, when a North Korean defector named Lee Min-bok sent packages containing pamphlets as well as supplies such as food across the Demilitarized Zone.
Lee Min-bok fled south across the border in 1995 to escape a famine that allegedly caused the deaths of a million North Koreans. Over the last 10 years, Lee has reportedly sent nearly 50 million leaflets with his balloons.
Seoul has been working to broker a lasting peace with Pyongyang. Earlier this month, officials from both sides met in the first significant peace talks between the two embattled countries in five years. Though the meeting was not touted as making any major strides toward better relations, it was still considered critical to ongoing progress.
Tensions have been running particularly high between the two nations over the last few weeks. As reported by The Inquisitr on October 19, troops from both sides exchanged gunfire across the border. No soldiers from either side were wounded, however.
North and South Korea have technically been at war since 1950, because a peace treaty was never signed between the two countries to call an “official end” to the Korean War.
Several weeks ago, Kim Jong-Un reappeared after an absence that lasted over a month. There had been speculation that North Korea’s supreme leader had been overthrown, but the state media revealed that Kim Jong-Un’s disappearance was related to illness.
Do you think activists in South Korea should be allowed to continue sending leaflets critical of the Kim Jong-Un regime into North Korea?
[Images via Daily Telegraph and BBC News]