North Korea has completed the printing of 12 million propaganda leaflets to be scattered “deep inside South Korea” by more than 3000 balloons, state media reported on Monday.
In a report that follows claims that the country’s citizens were preparing a major anti-South leafleting campaign — aimed at retaliating against a similar campaign by activists in the South — state media said “various equipment and means of distributing leaflets” would be used.
“Publishing and printing institutions at all levels in the capital city have printed 12 million leaflets of all kinds reflective of the wrath and hatred of the people from all walks of life,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Monday.
“Over 3000 balloons of various types capable of scattering leaflets deep inside south Korea” have been procured, it continued.
The article was also carried on the first page of the party daily the Rodong Sinmun, which reported that printing factories across the country were printing millions more leaflets.
Footage from state media on Saturday revealed the leaflets will feature cartoons attacking South Korean President Moon Jae-in, as well as imagery of recent North Korean missile tests and indictments of prominent activists.
Seoul’s unification ministry in response urged Pyongyang to drop the plans, warning that they stood to violate an April 2018 inter-Korean agreement.
North Korea’s United Front Department (UFD) responded on Saturday, complaining that that accord was now effectively “dead” and promising to go ahead with the launches.
“South Korea has to face the music,” Monday’s KCNA report said. “Only when it experiences how painful and how irritating it is to dispose of leaflets and waste, it will shake off its bad habit.”
“The preparations for the largest-ever distribution of leaflets against the enemy are almost complete,” it went on, claiming that anti-North leaflets from the South — sent by defector-led groups in late May — had “enraged” all North Koreans.
South Korea on Monday reiterated its opposition to the planned launch.
“Our government urges [North Korea] to immediately drop the plans to scatter leaflets to the South, which does not help development of South-North relations at all,” unification ministry spokesperson Yoh Sang-key told a regular press briefing.
One activist in South Korea with extensive experience in sending balloons and rice bottles to the North told NK News Monday that weather conditions would ultimately determine how far the leaflets got.
“Balloon launching is extremely weather sensitive,” Pastor Eric Foley, CEO of the Voice of the Martyrs Korea (VOMK) — which regularly sends bibles by balloons to the North — said.
“Public statements make it sound like launching can happen according to political will, but the weather has to cooperate,” he said, adding that there are only “10-20 days a year” when it is feasible to launch balloons from South to the North.
The wind from October through April in the Korean peninsula generally favors launching from North to South, he continued.
“But that can vary day by day and hour by hour.”
Meanwhile, Fighters for a Free North Korea (FFNK), led by defector-activist Park Sang-hak, told South Korean media last week that his group intends to go ahead with the balloon-launching around June 25.
The group, he told Yonhap News, is preparing to launch balloons “around June 25… we won’t be able to send them if there’s no wind, but when the wind is right we can launch them anytime.”
Chad O’Carroll contributed reporting
Edited by Oliver Hotham
North Korea has completed the printing of 12 million propaganda leaflets to be scattered "deep inside South Korea" by more than 3000 balloons, state media reported on Monday.
In a report that follows claims that the country's citizens were preparing a major anti-South leafleting campaign -- aimed at retaliating against a similar campaign by activists in the South -- state media said "various equipment and means of distributing leaflets" would be used.