Seoul: N. Korea Has Dropped 1 Million Propaganda Leaflets
by VOA News January 18, 2016
North Korea launched about 1 million leaflets by balloon into South Korea in an escalating propaganda battle after the North's nuclear test earlier this month, Seoul officials said Monday.
North Korea claimed to test a hydrogen bomb on January 6, although many foreign governments and analysts remain skeptical about the claim.
While avoiding direct military confrontation that could easily escalate into a hot war, both the North and South resumed psychological war games and tactical maneuvers to demonstrate military readiness and resolve.
Days after the test, South Korea began blasting anti-Pyongyang broadcasts and K-pop songs at its loudspeaker sites along the heavily militarized border.
North Korea responded by restarting its own border broadcasts and floating the balloons over the border carrying anti-South leaflets, Seoul officials said.
South Korea's defense ministry said the North's leaflets were being air-dropped on a near-daily basis and the leaflets have reached as far as Seoul, which is about 60 kilometers from the border.
Seoul believes its propaganda broadcasts help to demoralize frontline troops and residents near the border. There are doubts the North Korean leaflets will have any impact on the public in the more affluent South.
In August 2015, after the two Koreas reached a settlement to cease such Cold War provocations, Seoul prevented activists from using the balloon technique. The agreement, reached to prevent a land-mine incident from escalating into a wider conflict, also brought the two Koreas together to host a reunion for families that had long been separated by the division of the country after World War II.
South Korea, the U.S. and other countries are pushing hard to get North Korea punished over its fourth nuclear test.
The two Koreas share the world's most heavily fortified border since their war in the early 1950s ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are deployed in South Korea as deterrence against North Korea.
Brian Padden in Seoul contributed to this report.
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