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S. Korea still committed to stopping leaflet campaign: ministry official


South Korea remains committed to stopping defector groups and activists from sending leaflets into North Korea, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

North Korea has been lashing out at South Korea almost daily since early June over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets flown from the South. Tensions further escalated when it blew up a joint liaison office earlier this week and vowed to beef up its military presence in the border areas.

"The government's stance in stopping the flying of anti-Pyongyang leaflets remains unchanged," the official said.

The official added that any leaflets sent from North Korea to the South is also a violation of the Panmunjom Declaration and "not desirable in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace in the Korean Peninsula."

Defector groups and other activists have occasionally sent a large number of leaflets via giant balloons sharply criticizing the communist regime and its leader. These were often flown with one-dollar bills, USB memory sticks and other items to get more North Koreans to pick up the leaflets.

The South Korean government has advised against sending such leaflets, citing concerns about the safety of residents in the regions where the leaflet-carrying balloons are launched because the North could take retaliatory military action on the areas.

Defector groups have ignored such appeals, citing their right to freedom of expression.

The government said earlier this month it would legislate a ban on sending such leaflets into the North and filed a criminal complaint with police against two defector groups. (Yonhap)