North Korea says it condemns the South Korean government for permitting anti-Pyongyang leaflet launches, including one that took place earlier this week.
On Monday, South Korean activists sent balloons carrying more than 1 million leaflets over the border. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) accuses the activists of sending the leaflets to halt proposed dialogue between the two nations.
"On January 5, human scum ... of an organization of 'defectors from the North' organized the scattering of over 1.3 million leaflets slandering the dignity and social system of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]," the KCNA report says. “It is a last ditch effort to obstruct the improvement of North-South relations and spoil an atmosphere of dialogue.”
Last October, plans for high-level talks were stalled when a leaflet launch was met by machine gun fire from North Korea. No one was injured.
Pyongyang has called on the government in Seoul to stop the launches, but South Korea says there is no legal basis to prevent private organizations from disseminating their information.
On Wednesday, a Unification Ministry spokesman, Lim Byeong-cheol reaffirmed the stance of the South Korean government.
“It is wrong for the North to demand that the South restrict our freedom of expression as a precondition for talks,” he said. “The North must come to talks without preconditions.”
On Tuesday, a South Korean official urged North Korea to accept Seoul's offer of talks, saying the leaflet issue can be discussed in that forum.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.