North prints millions of South-bound propaganda leaflets
North Korea has almost completed preparations for the “largest-ever distribution of leaflets” against South Korea, the regime’s state media announced Monday, as it continues to escalate recent tensions on the peninsula.
Printing agencies in Pyongyang produced 12 million leaflets “of all kinds reflective of the wrath and hatred of the people from all walks of life,” in addition to millions more from the provinces, according to an English-language report from the regime mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
A variety of equipment will be used to distribute the leaflets, “including over 3,000 balloons,” the report added.
“South Korea has to face the music. Only when it experiences how painful and how irritating it is to dispose of leaflets and waste, it will shake off its bad habit,” KCNA said. “The time for retaliatory punishment is drawing near.”
The North’s plan to unleash a flood of propaganda fliers toward the South is one of the regime’s many escalations undertaken this month in response to anti-Pyongyang activists in the South distributing leaflets across the border.
After severing all direct communications with Seoul, North Korea unilaterally demolished the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong last week and announced it would remilitarize areas near the border previously unoccupied as a result of past inter-Korean agreements. They include the Kaesong Industrial Complex, Mount Kumgang tourist resort and guard posts in the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
Monday’s report from KCNA also follows a statement from the North Korean ruling Workers’ Party United Front Department (UFD) slamming South Korea’s Unification Ministry for urging the regime to refrain from releasing its own leaflets.
“We are so fed up with south Korea that we do not want to make any response nor exchange any coarse words with it, but we can not but ask it if they do not feel ashamed,” an English-language version of a UFD statement read.
With tensions on high, Seoul’s Unification Ministry on Monday said it was “comprehensively looking into all possible ways” to respond to the North’s destruction of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, which was established and operated using South Korean funding.
“If the South and North had a relationship like those between any other countries, we would have an easier time [demanding the North take responsibility for the demolition] but the South and North are in a special relationship,” said spokesman Yoh Sang-key.
Urging Pyongyang once again to stop its leaflet campaign, Yoh said Seoul was taking steps to completely block domestic activists from floating fliers into the North.
As the North hints of a possible military provocation toward the South, Seoul and Washington scrambled to deploy surveillance assets like their RQ-4 Global Hawk drones in the air around the peninsula.
“In the current situation we have sufficiently added [intelligence] assets to closely monitor [North Korea],” said South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo during a parliamentary hearing Monday.
It's unclear what North Korea may do to further provoke the South, but Seoul’s Defense Ministry said the regime may be close to unveiling new weapons at a military parade scheduled to take place this October, when the North celebrates the 75th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers’ Party.
The North was also repairing and constructing facilities in the DMZ like dugouts and guard posts, according to a defense ministry report to the National Assembly, signaling the regime is moving forward with its announced plans to bolster its military strength on the front.
BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [firstname.lastname@example.org]