Several pro-North Korean leaflets appeared in downtown Seoul last night, attacking South Korea’s leaders as “Pro-America, Pro-Japanese puppets” in what appears to be an ongoing campaign by Pyongyang to influence opinion in the South.
One leaflet was found in Seoul’s Daeheung-dong, close to Idae subway station – an area with a high student population – and others were found in front of a school and near demolition sites.
“I was surprised to see them and am curious how they got there,” said the source of the leaflets, a visitor to Seoul. “It’s very interesting to find on an ordinary street something you read about on the news.”
In ten leaflets given to NK News, North Korea praises recent developments in its nuclear and missile weapons programs, and accuses the U.S. and South Korea of “reckless nuclear games”, warning them that their actions “will result in the most extreme and gruesome result”.
In another, U.S. President Donald Trump is seen kicking three dogs with the faces of South Korea’s Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, Minister of National Defense Han Min-goo, and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, shouting at them to “deploy THAAD right now”.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also featured, calling the South Korean politicians “doomed bastards” and urging them to “withdraw comfort women statue” – a reference to an ongoing spat between Seoul and Tokyo over a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Empire during World War Two.
Leaflets likely distributed by balloon from North Korea or in person by sympathizers of the North living in Seoul have been found with almost weekly frequency in recent months.
As has been seen in previous leaflets, the most recent contain words and grammar not widely used in the North: one leaflet uses the phrase “gukmin” (국민) to refer to the people, instead of “inmin” (인민), which is more commonly used in the DPRK.
One also features a foreigner – the Italian industrialist Giancarlo Elia Valori – praising the “Dear Leader Kim Jong Un” and saying “The future of DPRK is eternally bright!” Valori visited North Korea in April last year and has reportedly had numerous interactions with the North Korean government.
Much like leaflets found last week near the Bukhansan National Park north of central Seoul, yesterday’s leaflets praised North Korea’s new Pukguksong 2-type medium range surface-to-surface missile, claiming it represented the “birth of another powerful means of nuclear attack”.
Others contained more general messages to Seoulites, praising the leadership of the DPRK, calling for an end to American presence on the Korean peninsula and for unification to happen in the near future.
Leaflets found in recent months included designs critical of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, sexually explicit cartoons of the South’s former President Park, as well as smaller-sized designs promoting the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s recent birthday anniversary, among other issues.
Pastor Eric Foley, CEO of the Voice of the Martyrs Korea, an NGO which regularly sends leaflets by balloon to the North, in February told NK News the ongoing campaign “may be the longest sustained balloon initiative on the part of the North Korean government in the past 10 years”.
NK News has in March found leaflets on at least three occasions – at least once per week – on Seoul’s Mapo Bridge, raising questions as to whether or not balloons could regularly deliver leaflets to such a small surface area in the center of the city.