News / Asia

Koreas Trade Threats Over Propaganda Balloons

Balloons containing leaflets denouncing Pyongyang are seen after former North Korean defectors released them towards North Korea at a field near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Gimpo, west of Seoul June 24, 2012.
Balloons containing leaflets denouncing Pyongyang are seen after former North Korean defectors released them towards North Korea at a field near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Gimpo, west of Seoul June 24, 2012.
— The two Koreas are exchanging threats ahead of a planned launch of balloons in the South Monday to send leaflets to the North - an event Pyongyang considers a provocation. 

 North Korea issued a fresh threat Friday in a dispatch from its army's western front command to conduct a military attack if there is any attempt in the South to send balloons northward.

The military says an October 22 propaganda balloon launch is being orchestrated by what it calls traitors and the South Korean military.

In a Friday afternoon radio broadcast, a North Korean announcer, reading the military statement, says if even the smallest movement is detected to scatter propaganda leaflets, the Western Front will launch a merciless military strike without warning.

The dispatch also requests those living around the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju City -- just south of the DMZ and about 30 kilometers north of Seoul - to evacuate the area “in anticipation of possible damage.”

South Korea's defense minister, Kim Kwan-jin, told members of the National Assembly if the North fires on the pavilion, the South's military will promptly attack the source of the shelling.

Professor Yang Moo-jin at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies says Pyongyang has made similar threats before but never acted on them.

Yang says this latest threat is likely a response to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's visit this week to a frontier island where he vowed to protect the disputed maritime border and punish any provocations from the North.

The professor says he doubts that previous propaganda leaflets floated North had any real impact and Pyongyang is merely using the next planned launch as a pretext to raise tensions.

Yang says while South Korea's government could ask the private group to halt their activities he does not think they should because it is important to send a message to Pyongyang that provocations will not be tolerated.

The head of Freedom Fighters for North Korea, the group planning to launch the balloons says the threat of an attack will not deter them.

The two Koreas technically remain at war since a 1953 armistice halted three years of destructive civil conflict that killed more than two million civilians and combatants.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Video Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid