The North Korean military issued a statement on Saturday threatening to attack activists should they fly leaflets into the North as planned.
“All the firepower strike means of the frontline units of the KPA will launch without prior warning indiscriminate operations to blow up balloons carrying those leaflets,” said the “open notice” of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Earlier this month, the defector activist group Fighters for a Free North Korea announced that they would send leaflets and DVDs of the film The Interview into the North around March 26, the fifth anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan naval vessel.
Although Pyongyang has been warning against the plan, the group’s leader Park Sang-hak said they would fly out the leaflets and DVDs as planned.
However, Saturday’s warning was particularly strident, even by the standards of North Korean state media.
“Any challenge to the DPRK’s just physical countermeasures will entail (second) and (third) merciless retaliatory strikes,” it said.
The notice also recommended that South Korean residents along the Military Demarcation Line area should evacuate in advance for their safety before the flying out begins.
Last week, the South Korean government said it would do what was necessary to ensure residents’ safety, indicating that it was willing to rein the balloon launches.
“Announcing the scattering of leaflets in public is not advisable since it raises the danger to our citizens’ safety, including that of the border area residents. The government will take necessary measures if there occurs an evident danger to the residents’ safety,” Ministry of Unification spokesperson Lim Byong-cheol said last Friday.
Picture: Rene Walter, Flickr Creative Commons
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