News / Asia

S. Korean Police Thwart Anti-North Leaflet Launch

Activists chant "Liberate North Korean compatriots" at peace park near the DMZ, May 4, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid