News / Asia

S. Korean Police Thwart Anti-North Leaflet Launch

Activists chant
Activists chant "Liberate North Korean compatriots" at peace park near the DMZ, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
Police in South Korea prevented defectors from North Korea from launching balloons near the demilitarized zone Saturday.  North Korea, as it has in the past, threatened to retaliate if balloons floated across the border. The provocative action would have coincided with the eve of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's first official visit to the United States.

A brief protest, with unfurled banners and expressions of outrage directed at North Korea, replaced a planned launch of 200,000 leaflets by balloon from a peace park, seven kilometers south of the military demarcation line.

FFNK leader Park Sang-hak expresses his disappointment about his group being prevented from launching balloons towards North Korea, May 4, 3013. (R. Kalden/VOA)FFNK leader Park Sang-hak expresses his disappointment about his group being prevented from launching balloons towards North Korea, May 4, 3013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
x
FFNK leader Park Sang-hak expresses his disappointment about his group being prevented from launching balloons towards North Korea, May 4, 3013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
FFNK leader Park Sang-hak expresses his disappointment about his group being prevented from launching balloons towards North Korea, May 4, 3013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
Activist Park Sang-hak, calling for the end of the hereditary dictatorship led by Kim Jong Un, initiates a chant of “Liberate North Korean compatriots.”

Park, who heads Fighters for Free North Korea, says he is a former state  propagandist whose father, a spy, urged the family to defect from the North in 1999.

Police on Saturday morning intercepted a truck hauling the leaflets criticizing North Korea's human rights record. But several dozen activists were allowed through to the planned balloon launch site at Imjingak, including some who had come from the United States.

Suzanne Scholte of the North Korea Freedom Coalition speaking to VOA's Steve Herman and other reporters at Imjingak, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)Suzanne Scholte of the North Korea Freedom Coalition speaking to VOA's Steve Herman and other reporters at Imjingak, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
x
Suzanne Scholte of the North Korea Freedom Coalition speaking to VOA's Steve Herman and other reporters at Imjingak, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
Suzanne Scholte of the North Korea Freedom Coalition speaking to VOA's Steve Herman and other reporters at Imjingak, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
Suzanne Scholte, chairperson of the North Korea Freedom Committee, expresses disappointment the launch of the balloons was not allowed to proceed.

“A clear indication of how very powerful and effective they are is how the regime in North Korea reacts. And we have to remember this is a peaceful, peaceful means to advocate and get information into North Korea," she said. "And the crazy reaction by Kim Jong Un just clearly indicates how weak he is in his hold on power in North Korea, that he would be so terrified of information getting in to North Korea.”

Some local residents also oppose the launches fearing North Korea will make good on frequent threats to drop artillery shells on the vicinity of Imjingak.

Police prevented a similar balloon release attempt last month.

South Korean police prevent a car driven by a North Korean defector from entering site of a planned launch of balloons carrying leaflets, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)South Korean police prevent a car driven by a North Korean defector from entering site of a planned launch of balloons carrying leaflets, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
x
South Korean police prevent a car driven by a North Korean defector from entering site of a planned launch of balloons carrying leaflets, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
South Korean police prevent a car driven by a North Korean defector from entering site of a planned launch of balloons carrying leaflets, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
Officials in Seoul say they do not want to give Pyongyang any fresh excuses for provocation at this sensitive juncture.

President Park Geun-hye, on Sunday, is to begin a six-day visit to the United States, the first since her inauguration in late February.

On Friday, the last seven South Koreans left the Kaesong joint venture complex in the North at the same time a vehicle headed there loaded with $13 million in unpaid wages and tax claims.

At the Kaesong industrial zone, 123 South Korean companies - mainly small textile factories - employed more than 50,000 North Korean workers. The rare North-South cooperative project opened in 2004. But North Korea ordered its workers out last month, saying the South had insulted the North's dignity.

This came amid a period of soaring tension on the peninsula, with North Korea repeatedly threatening to fire nuclear weapons at the United States and turn Seoul into a sea of flames.

Pyongyang's bellicose rhetoric coincided with an annual South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise and increased following the U.N. Security Council's latest sanctions on North Korea for continuing with its active development and testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: giggig24 from: FL,USA
May 05, 2013 1:59 AM
B-52 should drop leaflets all over the NK ,showing the prospective occupational sectional plan ,Russia in the NE,China down to a latitude of their conveniance, Sk,USA and the 22 Nation from 1953 armistice ,dividing uo the rest. Each NK Infantrists gets to keep his rifle
and handgun, No more authority to KIM and his mentors, they are under investigation about ethnic cleansings and what they did with political Prison Camps by 2nd and 3rd generation.They can keep the nuclear power plant and build more.They need power for
their peaceful lives.
In Response

by: gig24
May 08, 2013 9:11 AM
Arrested upon indictment : Auschwitz guard Hans Shibis,Stuttgart,93yrs old . KJU can be indicted and convicted. The UN use of force authorized to get inspectors in,human rights inspectors and nuclear inspectors.South Korea has now drones they can visit the gulags and send photos,they can also drop leafletts.They can also run into the Podium on a parade.So there is a real reason,why parades are no longer held.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs