South Korea to Cost Defector Teams Over Anti-North Propaganda Leaflets

(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s authorities stated Wednesday that it’ll press prices towards two activist teams which have been floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets and bottles stuffed with rice to North Korea for allegedly breaking the regulation by sending unauthorized supplies to the rival nation.

The announcement by Seoul’s Unification Ministry got here a day after North Korea introduced it was slicing off all communication channels with South Korea over its lack of ability to stop North Korean defectors and different activists from flying the leaflets throughout the border.

Yoh Sang-key, the ministry’s spokesman, advised reporters the 2 organizations to be charged had “created tensions between the South and North and introduced hazard to the lives and security of (South Korean) residents in border areas.”

Seoul’s pursuit of authorized motion towards the teams is prone to set off a debate over freedom of expression and whether or not President Moon Jae-in’s liberal authorities is sacrificing democratic ideas to maintain alive his ambitions for inter-Korean engagement.

For years, activists have floated big balloons into North Korea carrying leaflets criticizing chief Kim Jong Un over his nuclear ambitions and dismal human rights document. The leafleting has generally triggered a livid response from North Korea, which bristles at any try to undermine its management.

In 2014, troopers exchanged hearth after South Korean activists launched propaganda balloons throughout the Demilitarized Zone, however no casualties have been reported.

Yoh claimed that the 2 teams to be charged, led by North Korean defector Park Sang-hak and his brother Park Jung-oh, violated a regulation governing inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation by sending unauthorized supplies to the North.

Park Sang-hak’s Fighters for a Free North Korea has launched balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets for years. Park Jung-oh leads the group Keun Saem, which on Monday unsuccessfully tried to drift rice-filled bottles into North Korea from a border city earlier than being blocked by South Korean police.

Neither group answered repeated requires remark Wednesday.

The ministry didn’t say whether or not it was planning to take related authorized motion towards one other group led by Lee Min-bok, additionally a North Korean defector who has been flying leaflets into the North for years.

Specialists say North Korea’s transfer to chop off communication channels was doubtless extra than simply about leafleting because it comes after months of frustration over Seoul’s unwillingness to defy U.S.-led sanctions and resume inter-Korean financial initiatives that may breathe life into the North’s damaged economic system.

North Korea has suspended nearly all cooperation with South Korea in latest months amid a stalemate in bigger nuclear negotiations with the Washington.

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