North Korea is preparing to launch an anti-Seoul leaflet campaign, state media said yesterday, prompting sharp criticism from South Korea with tensions high on the peninsula.
Pyongyang has recently issued a series of vitriolic condemnations of Seoul over anti-North leaflets, which defectors based in the South send across the border - usually attached to balloons or floated in bottles.
North Korea has upped the pressure over the campaigns with a dramatic demolition of a building on its side of the border that symbolised inter-Korean rapprochement, threats to bolster its military presence at the border, and now leaflets of its own.
“Enraged” North Koreans are now “pushing forward with the preparations for launching a large-scale distribution” of “leaflets of punishment” into the South, the official KCNA news agency said.
“Every action should be met with proper reaction and only when one experiences it oneself, one can feel how offending it is.”
Photos carried by the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed North Koreans preparing the leaflets, and cigarette butts and ashes scattered over flyers featuring the face of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
One of the leaflets with an image of Moon drinking a cup of unidentified beverage read: “(He has) eaten it all, including the North-South Korea agreement”.
Hours later, Seoul’s unification ministry urged Pyongyang to withdraw the plan “immediately”, calling the move “very regrettable”.
Seoul filed a police complaint last week against two defector groups over the leaflets that have offended Pyongyang, and warned of a “thorough crackdown” against activists
sending anti-North leaflets.
But the North continued issue denunciations of the South over the leaflets - which criticise the North Korean leader over human rights abuses and his nuclear ambitions.
Analysts say North Korea may be seeking to manufacture a crisis to increase pressure on South Korea to extract concessions.
Moon, who has long favoured engagement with the North, was targeted earlier this week by Kim Yo-jong - the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - in an extensive diatribe, calling him
“disgusting” and “impudent”.
Seoul retorted with unusually stern criticism to Pyongyang’s latest denunciations of Moon and its blowing up of the liaison office this week, saying it will “no longer tolerate” the North’s “unreasonable acts and words”.
Inter-Korean relations have been in deep freeze for months, following the collapse of a summit in Hanoi between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
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