South Korea Urges Defector Not to Fly ‘The Interview’ Into NorthSam Kim
South Korea urged an activist seeking to fly copies of the film “The Interview” across the demilitarized zone into North Korea on balloons to reconsider, saying his plan poses a safety risk for border residents.
“Our government expects Park Sang Hak will make a judgment after careful consideration,” Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong Cheol said Friday at a briefing in Seoul, confirming a ministry official met with Park, who defected from the North, yesterday. Lim didn’t say whether the official specifically asked Park to refrain from sending the Sony Pictures Entertainment film into North Korea.
Hackers linked to North Korea by the U.S. attacked Sony computers in November over the film and threats to attack cinemas prompted the studio to initially cancel its theatrical release. The film is about two U.S. journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong Un. North Korea denies hacking Sony.
North Korea in October shot at balloons carrying anti-North Korean leaflets and has said that South Korea must stop activists like Park from sending the material if relations are to improve. South Korean President Park Geun Hye said Jan. 12 that she was willing to meet with Kim without pre-conditions, after the North Korean leader said in his New Year speech he was open to a summit with her.
Park Sang Hak said early this year he planned to send copies of the movie along with anti-North Korea leaflets, using funding from the Human Rights Foundation. The New York-based group in December launched its HackThemBack campaign seeking to raise $250,000 “to flood North Korea with films, books, educational materials, and equipment that will offer a window to the outside world,” according to its website.
Residents of Paju, a city bordering the DMZ, tried to block activists from launching leaflets in October, saying they fear North Korea’s military retaliation.
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