South Korean officials have blocked the distribution of propaganda leaflets after receiving military threats from North Korea.
According to BBC, a group of North Korean defectors planned on launching balloons filled with propaganda leaflets from the South Korean border town of Paju where they now reside.
Pyongyang threatened to open fire on South Korean territory if South Korean officials did not block the launch. In a report by Al-Jazeera, the threats from North Korean officials would comprise a “merciless military strike” and that “the surrounding area will become targets of direct firing”.
As a result, South Korean military and officials were on high alert, advising residents near the border to evacuate.
South Korean officials sealed off the intended launch location, angering many activists. The group’s leader and event organizer, Park Sang-Hak, blamed South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak for blocking the launch.
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“Lee Myung-Bak woke up this morning and got scared of some immature kid [North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un] and decided to stop us,” Park said, according to a report in Al-Jazeera.
Park also said that his group's intention is not to create conflict at the already tense border, but rather to “convey the truth to North Koreans.”
The leaflets contained information about rebellions that have taken place around the world, in particular the events of the Arab Spring revolution.
South Korean efforts to spread propaganda to North Korea is not unprecedented -- neither are retaliatory threats by North Korea. But the statement issued on Friday by Pyongyang used specific language that was enough to be taken more seriously by Seoul.