North Korea Drops a Million Propaganda Leaflets Over Border

  • Pamphlets praise Jan. 6 nuclear test, criticize President Park
  • South Korea earlier resumed propaganda broadcasts across DMZ

North Korea has flown nearly 1 million propaganda leaflets by balloon over the heavily fortified border with South Korea, in an escalation of psychological warfare on the Korean peninsula after the Pyongyang regime’s fourth nuclear test earlier this month.

The leaflets -- a response to South Korea’s broadcasts of South Korean pop music and anti-Pyongyang rhetoric over the border -- are falling in some parts of Seoul and north of the South Korean capital, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said Monday. The pamphlets criticize Park Geun Hye, praise North Korea’s fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, and call for loyalty to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Tensions remain high along the border as South Korea, the U.S. and Japan seek China’s support for a United Nations Security Council resolution to punish North Korea with additional sanctions for the nuclear test. China, a veto-wielding member of the council, has called for a return to disarmament talks to address the impasse.

Last week, South Korean troops fired warning shots at a drone approaching the military demarcation line. South Korea is also considering setting up giant electronic displays in addition to existing loudspeakers to reinforce its psychological message.

The loudspeakers began blaring K-pop and messages critical of the Kim regime on Jan. 8. South Korea previously restarted propaganda broadcasts in August last year, prompting North Korea to put its troops on a war footing. An agreement between their senior officials defused the tensions, prompting South Korea to turn off its speakers.

Set up at about 10 sites along the demilitarized zone, the speakers play songs by artists such as girl group Apink and folk singer Lee Ae Ran. They also include recordings of casual conversations to discussions about the importance of human rights and the lives of South Korea’s middle class.

In October 2014, North Korea shot at balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets, and it has threatened artillery attacks against activists flying such materials over the border.

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