North says it will blast leaflets at any time

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North says it will blast leaflets at any time

North Korea warned yesterday that it will launch full-fledged attacks against people sending propaganda leaflets over the border, and it won’t give any advance warnings.

The threat to anti-North Korea campaigns by South Korean activists came amid rising hopes that the two Koreas will join China, Russia, the United States and Japan to revive the stalled six-party talks on the North’s nuclear weapons program.

“Under this situation, our army officially informs the south side that it will expand the scope of direct fire, already declared, into full-scale destruction fire at any area, any time,” said the North Korean military in a report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

In March, the North said through Korean Central Television that it was losing patience with groups sending propaganda leaflets via balloons across the border and would open fire on certain South Korean sites used to launch the balloons.

Despite the warnings, some civic groups continued to send the balloons. On April 15, the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, groups dispatched around 200,000 leaflets containing pro-democracy, anti-Kim family messages.

They are sent on giant balloons, often along with DVDs, USB flash drives and U.S. one-dollar bills.

North Korea claimed its attacks will be a legitimate response to what it calls provocations.

The leaflet campaign, the KCNA said, “is a type of psychological warfare and is an unequivocal war provocation to a warring side” which “will result in unpredictable and merciless punishment from our army.”

The leaflet campaigns by South Korean activists have been more frequent since the North’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November, which killed four South Koreans, including two civilians.

The North is also blamed for the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010, killing 46 sailors, which it has denied.

Seoul says North Korea’s refusal to apologize for the attacks shows it is not sincere about the six-party talks.

The KCNA also claimed yesterday that South Korea fired machine guns at the border on April 15, calling it an “unpardonable military provocation.”

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Kim Min-seok admitted the firing later in the day at a media briefing, but said it was a mistake by a South Korean soldier near the border during a routine military drill in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]

北, 대북전단 살포에 “전면사격” 또 위협

‘조준격파’ 경고 이어 위협강도 높여

남북 장령급(장성급)군사회담 북측 단장이 대북전단 살포지역에 대해 `전면격파사격`을 가하겠다는 통지문을 남측에 보냈다고 조선중앙통신이 22일 전했다.

통지문은 "삐라살포 행위는 심리전의 한 형태이고 그것은 곧 교전상대방에 대한 숨길 수 없는 전쟁도발 행위"라며 "삐라살포 지역에 대한 직접조준격파사격은 교전일방인 우리 군대가 정전협정 파기자에게 가하는 정정당당한 징벌"이라고 주장했다.

이어 "더욱이 우리 군대의 대응이 두려워 남측이 교활한 방법으로 장소를 옮겨가며 삐라살포 행위에 매달리는 조건에서 우리 군대는 이미 선포한 조준격파사격 범위를 임의의 시각에, 임의의 지역에 가하는 전면격파사격으로 넓히게 된다는 것을 정식으로 통고한다"고 강조했다.

또 "남측의 무모한 반공화국 대결망동은 우리 군대의 예측할 수 없는 무자비한 징벌만을 초래하게 될 것이라는 것을 다시 한번 상기시킨다"고 덧붙였다.

북한은 심리전 발원지를 조준격파 사격하겠다는 경고에도 불구하고 탈북자단체와 보수단체를 중심으로 전단살포가 이어지자 한 단계 강도를 높여 `전면사격` 카드를 꺼낸 것으로 보인다.

북한은 체제유지를 위해 김정일 정권을 비난하는 전단과 일용품 등의 살포에 예민하게 반응해 왔으며 이를 주도하는 탈북자를 `인간쓰레기`라고 부르며 반발해 왔다.

통지문은 14일과 15일에 경기 연천군과 임진각에서 수 십만 장의 전단이 살포됐고 15일 오후에는 남측 헌병초소에서 북측을 향해 대구경 기관총을 쐈다고 주장하기도 했다.

북한은 앞서 2월27일에도 임진각 등 심리전 발원지를 조준사격하겠다고 협박했으며 작년 5월24일에도 이명박 대통령 담화 후속조치로 심리전 재개 방침이 발표되자 확성기 등을 조준사격하겠다고 위협했다.

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