Propaganda leaflets, likely distributed by air from North Korea, were found in two nearby Seoul locations over the Lunar New year weekend, residents told NK News on Sunday.
The leaflets – which highlight emerging North Korean military technologies, criticize THAAD deployment, promote Kim Jong Un’s leadership, and condemn U.S, Japanese and ROK policies – were picked up by two residents in a district of central northwest Seoul.
“I got up (Saturday) in the morning to exercise and saw the leaflets scattered around the parking lot and in the surrounding wooded area,” said one Seoul resident who lives near Seoul’s Yonsei university, adding there “were probably about 50-75 I saw in total.”
“I heard from a friend that last night when they were walking near the apartment they saw them falling down from the sky, so the drop must have happened last night sometime,” the source added, who request anonymity due to the sensitivity of sharing the materials in South Korea.
“They just thought leaves were falling and then realized it was papers.”
Another source, who also requested anonymity, said they found the same type of leaflets in Yeonhui-dong, a northwest central Seoul neighborhood also near Yonsei university.
“We got two in the patio and one on the rooftop,” the source said, adding that they found “another one last month” but “prior to that, maybe once or twice over years.”
“This winter has seen an uptick in reports of North Korean flyers found in South Korea compared to previous years,” said Rev. Eric Foley, CEO of the Voice of the Martyrs Korea, an organization which utilizes computer modeling and GPS technology to plan its own balloon launches into the North.
“Frequent launches like this could be North Korea’s effort to create chilling ongoing reminders for South Koreans in light of North Korea’s recent missile testing: Do not take our patience for granted. Do not back-burner us in order to attend to your own domestic politics, or Trump, or China,” he said.
Notably, though, Foley said that wind conditions over the weekend had not appeared favorable for North Korean balloon launches of flyers into the locations that residents had found them within in central Seoul.
“Due to a strong easterly current even a launch from the extreme southwestern corner of North Korea—say, a city like Yeonan—would still be likely to land considerably northeast of Seoul were typical balloon technology in use,” he said.
“So a landing in Seoul could indicate a different type of balloon than is commonly used here, or perhaps even some more advanced payload release technology allowing greater targeting.”
Fyodor Tertitskiy, a Ph.D. candidate with expertise in understanding North Korean propaganda, said the launches might not, however, be related to the current broader news cycle.
“Guys at North Korea’s propaganda department have their salaries to earn (and) such posters are regularly disseminated here in Seoul,” he said. “(But these) posters are obsolete: Obama is no longer a person of power and neither is Park, by the way.”
Previous leaflets identified in South Korea in January attacked the U.S. and now-impeached President Park Geun-hye.
Leaflets last November focused primarily on attacking Park and criticizing the Terminal High Altitude Areal Defense (THAAD) system.
South Korean human rights activists often conduct balloon launches of leaflets criticizing Kim Jong Un and the North’s political system.
Main picture: NK News
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