A South Korean activist said Wednesday that he had recently sent thousands of DVDs of “The Interview,” a movie depicting a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, by means of balloons across the border into North Korea.
Lee Min-bok said he had launched balloons carrying the DVDs of the movie four times from South Korean border towns on Saturday. He said that that the balloons also carried dollar bills and leaflets criticizing Kim’s government and highlighting the economic prosperity of South Korea in an attempt to influence North Koreans to oppose the country’s current leadership, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Although South Korea argues that the activists are exercising their right to free speech, its government had recently asked them to stop launching propaganda balloons into the North Korean territory. The government said at the time that such activities could worsen the relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang.
“If such a movement is detected in advance, the government will take necessary measures because it may threaten the security of residents there,” Lim Byeong-Cheol, a spokesman for the South Korean unification ministry, told Agence France-Presse last month.
North Korea, which considers such political leaflets an attack on its government, has long condemned the move and even threatened retaliation.
“The act of leaflet scattering, which will be carried out amidst the rehearsal of war on North Korea, is an explicit declaration of war. ... [We] do not hide the fact that we will counteract this time with cannons or missiles,” North Korea’s main propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said last month, according to Yonhap.
Lee, however, said that he would continue to try to send balloons into North Korea. According to him, the leaflets are an important source of outside information for the North Korean people, AP reported.
Last year, computer networks of Sony Pictures Entertainment were hacked and the attackers -- allegedly backed by North Korea -- had demanded that the release of “The Interview” be halted.