South Korea prepares to evacuate DMZ citizens after threat..and “blinks”
South Korea is preparing to evacuate more than 800 residents along the demilitarized zone afterNorth Korea threatened to fire on activists planning to send balloons across the border carrying leaflets critical of the communist regime.
Citizens residing within the civilian control line will be evacuated if any North Korean movements for a possible attack are spotted, Park Kwang Hae, an official at Paju City Council, said by phone late yesterday. No evacuation orders are in place currently, he said.
A group of South Korean organizations plans to send 200,000 leaflets by balloons near the demilitarized zone at 11 a.m. today, according to Park Sang Hak, leader of the Fighters for Free North Korea, one of the event’s hosts. The threat of an attack against activists is the first since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in December. The activists sent balloons carrying leaflets on five occasions since the younger Kim’s ascension, Park said Oct. 19.
North Korea’s army will conduct a “merciless military strike” if any move to drop leaflets is detected, according to a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency on Oct. 19. South Korea’s military is prepared to “completely destroy” the origin of a North Korean attack if it occurs, Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin told lawmakers the same day.
Military authorities have suspended the launch of propaganda leaflets toward North Korea, which was resumed as part of increased psychological warfare after North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong Island in November last year.
“The psy-ops operations command has not sent leaflets toward the North for several months since its plan to float leaflets about the Arab Spring was leaked to controversy in February and March,” a military source said. It seems the plan was suspended as part of government efforts to improve inter-Korean relations, the source added.
He added the decision was partly made because the wind currently blows in the wrong direction to float these leaflets attached to helium balloons across the border. But he said propaganda radio broadcasts continue.
Another military officer declined to say when and why the leaflet launches were halted, saying psychological operations against the North are secret.
The military resumed the propaganda broadcasts after the North sank the Navy corvette Cheonan in March last year. They had been suspended since 2004. It resumed the leaflet launches, suspended since 2000, after the North shelled Yeonpyeong Island in November last year.
north korea -1, south korea – 0
the south will have to work harder in the second half..