South Korea's distribution of leaflets by air in the North informing the public about the anti-government protests in the Middle East backfired on Sunday with Pyongyang warning direct firing across the border.

The KCNA, the North Korean state-run news agency, said the propaganda was psychological warfare to upstage our socialism and break the trust of our military and people. It said the North would launch firing attacks on groups seen releasing the balloons.

The warning escalates the tension between the two Korean neighbors who had held failed peace talks early this month. North Korea, a Communist ally and neighbor of China, is unlikely to witness street protests unless Beijing relents and initiates change in the Hermitic North.