Pyongyang Calls South Korean Leaflet Campaign 'De-Facto Declaration of War'
MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - Pyongyang has referred to a leaflet campaign, launched by South Korean activists and aimed at criticizing the North's leadership and system, as a "de-facto declaration of war", Yonhap news agency reports, citing the North's reunification committee.
"It's a de-facto declaration of war to insult and slander our supreme self-dignity and system with every kind of false and fabricated information," North Korea's Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a white paper, as quoted by Yonhap.
"If another leaflet scattering operation is conducted despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK and opposition and rejection of the public at home and abroad, the inter-Korean relations will be pushed to an uncontrollable catastrophe and the situation will reach an alarming phase," North Korean news agency KCNA said, citing the Secretariat.
Conservative activists from South Korea, many of them North Korean defectors, plan to send 100,000 leaflets across the border from Imjingak park on Saturday. Similar actions earlier this month ended in an exchange of fire much to the consternation of local residents.
Although Pyongyang has repeatedly called on Seoul to stop the campaign, South Korea has declined to block what it sees as a democratic action. "Our stance is that we can't prevent it," Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae stated, adding that it "is an exercise of the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution". He also emphasized the "government will never change the basic principle and position (on the leaflet issue)."
"Our basic stance is that there is no legal ground for us to block private groups from scattering leaflets," an unnamed official from the National Police Agency (NPA) said, as quoted by Yonhap. However, police forces will be dispatched to the launching site "to prevent any accidents from happening in the case of a clash," the official added.
South Korean activists are persistent in launching balloons, carrying literature, transistor radios, DVDs, and even Choco Pies to the north. The South Korean government occasionally asks them to refrain from such actions.
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