N. Korea ready to send millions of retaliatory leaflets to the South

Sending a message:North Koreans preparing anti-South Korea propaganda leaflets, in an image provided last week.AP

Sending a message:North Koreans preparing anti-South Korea propaganda leaflets, in an image provided last week.AP  

They are reflective of the ‘wrath and hatred of people from all walks of life’ in the country, says Pyongyang

North Korea has millions of propaganda leaflets ready to send to the South by an aerial armada of balloons, it said on Monday, heightening its rhetoric against Seoul after blowing up a liaison office.

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has issued a series of vitriolic condemnations of Seoul over anti-North leaflets, which defectors based in the South send across the border — usually attached to balloons or floated in bottles.

Office blown up

The North says it will have nothing more to do with Seoul, and last week blew up a liaison office on its side of the border that symbolised inter-Korean rapprochement, while threatening to bolster its military presence in and near the Demilitarized Zone.

Analysts say Pyonygang has been conducting a series of staged provocations aimed at forcing concessions from Seoul and Washington with nuclear talks at a standstill. Ostensibly the source of its anger is the leaflets which it says insult the dignity of its leadership — a reference to leader Kim Jong-un. It is preparing to retaliate with its “largest-ever distribution of leaflets against the enemy”, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Monday. Altogether “12 million leaflets of all kinds reflective of the wrath and hatred of the people from all walks of life” have been produced, it said, and more than 3,000 balloons prepared to send them far to the south.

“The time for retaliatory punishment is drawing near,” it said. One of the leaflets shown in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried an image of South Korean President Moon Jae-in drinking from a cup and accused him of having “eaten it all, including the north-south Korea agreement”.

Both Koreas used to regularly send leaflets and loudspeaker broadcasts to the other side, but agreed to stop such activities in the Panmunjom Declaration that Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim signed at their first summit in 2018.

Loudspeakers set up

North Korea has begun setting up loudspeakers at multiple locations along the border to broadcast propaganda, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, citing an official of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Inter-Korean relations have been in a deep freeze following the collapse of a summit in Hanoi between Mr. Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump early last year over what the nuclear-armed North would be willing to give up in exchange for a loosening of sanctions.

At times, leaflet dispatches have led to escalation — in October 2014 the North opened fire on an air balloon carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets, triggering an exchange of shots at the border. But most South Koreans largely ignore leaflets they find sent by the North. The flyers often boast of its military prowess or criticise the U.S. and Southern Presidents, accompanied by offensive images and language.

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