New propaganda leaflets, likely sent from North Korea, were found in central Seoul locations over the weekend, photos seen by NK News show.
Leaflets promoting North Korea’s September 3 hydrogen bomb test were found in the Gwanghwamun area on Friday, while a design criticizing South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s policies was spotted on the Yonsei University campus on Saturday.
“Let’s make a strict judgment on the current person in authority who is on the side of the U.S. war racket of invading North Korea,” the leaflet found on Saturday said, likely a reference to President Moon Jae-in.
“The current person in authority is a shaggy dog of the U.S., like Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye,” the leaflet continued, indicative of increasing North Korean dissatisfaction with the South Korean President.
“North Korea completely succeeded the test of a hydrogen bomb for an intercontinental ballistic rocket which is 100% localized and has high intense explosive power,” said part of the leaflet found in Gwanghwamun by Reuters correspondent James Pearson on Friday.
Found a North Korean propaganda flier in central Seoul. Calls past two and current South Korean governments “lapdogs of America”. pic.twitter.com/vP6LgLXvJU
— James Pearson (@pearswick) September 29, 2017
The emergence of the leaflets in downtown areas of Seoul – also independently reported by the conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper – follows reports of South Korea-based defector group ‘No Chain’ sending USB memory sticks containing portions of the bible towards the Mount Kumgang area in mid-September.
It is not, however, clear whether the recent North Korean leaflet launch is connected.
The leaflets’ arrival in Seoul also follows an extended period during which North Korea appeared to refrain from sending printed propaganda messages to Seoul.
Between November 2016 and March 2017, North Korean propaganda leaflets appeared in Seoul on an almost weekly basis, most likely being sent from the far southwest of the country.
Topics included former President Park Geun-hye, the then-recently inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump, and emerging solid fuel North Korean missile technologies, among others.
The high frequency of leaflet drops was described at the time by Pastor Eric Foley, whose Seoul-based NGO regularly sends balloons northwards, as being linked to an ongoing South Korean political crisis of the time and prevailing winds which, during winter months, favor drops around Seoul.
But there were far fewer reports of leaflets arriving in the South, especially within Seoul itself, from April onwards.
Since the election of Moon Jae-in as President in May, parts of the South Korean administration have been reviewing whether or not to continue allowing groups to send them North.
“Sending leaflets near the border could spark unnecessary military tensions, including a possible accidental conflict. It also poses a real threat to the safety of border-area residents,” Baek Tai-hyun, a Ministry of Unification spokesperson said in remarks carried by Yonhap News Agency in early August.
Some observers have criticized the South Korean government’s plans to halt balloon launches towards the North in the current environment, suggesting it would violate freedom of speech.
Picture: Supplied to NK News
Dagyum Ji contributed to this report
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