Plan of Lee government: words, not ammunition

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Plan of Lee government: words, not ammunition

Three days after North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island, all eyes have been trained on the South Korean government to see what measures it plans to take against the North.

Bungled messages from the Blue House immediately after the attack and the military’s changing of its stance on what really happened on the island have the public demanding a stronger response toward the North’s provocation.

The South Korean government plans to retaliate with words as ammunition, believing a military strike would be frowned upon by the international community.

Now-former Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said on Wednesday at a National Assembly hearing that “a psychological war is ongoing, and we will continue that war but I cannot detail how that will take place.”

The newly launched plan for propaganda will likely be in the form of fliers, which a government source said “are already printed.”

The fliers will be flown into North Korean territory on giant balloons, a tactic that civilian groups have used in the past to send propaganda fliers, usually to tell North Koreans about life in South Korea and appeal to them to leave their country.

“[North Korea] will have no idea whether it came from civil groups or the government,” a South Korean government official yesterday told JoongAng Ilbo.

President Lee Myung-bak had highlighted an anti-North propaganda campaign during a nationwide address in May as part of measures taken by the government after the warship Cheonan was sunk in March.

The campaign was announced with a number of other “resolute” measures, including suspending trade with the North, closing waterways to North Korea’s ships and adopting a new, more aggressive military posture.

However, the propaganda campaign was never started. South Korea had initially pushed its plan to disperse anti-North propaganda by installing loudspeakers along the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. Pyongyang had threatened to launch a military strike at the 11 loudspeakers installed at the border in June.

In October, Kim told the National Assembly that the military was planning on ratcheting up propaganda into the North with radio announcements and with the scattering of radio transmitters in North Korean territory, but the military never disclosed whether it did so.

The South Korean government has blocked all entrances into North Korea after the Yeonpyeong Island attack and the Ministry of Unification has decided not to send cement and medical supplies to the North, which were a part of an aid package for the North.

By Christine Kim []

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