Unification ministry mulls meeting with activists over anti-Pyongyang leaflet campaign

Date: 2024-06-11T15:33:44+09:00

Location: en.yna.co.kr

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry is considering meeting with North Korean defectors' groups dedicated to sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the inter-Korean border amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul officials said Tuesday.

Tensions are running high as Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned Sunday that her country could take an unspecified "new counteraction" against South Korea if Seoul keeps sending such leaflets and blaring its loudspeaker broadcasts across the border.

South Korea resumed loudspeaker broadcasts Sunday for the first time in six years in response to North Korea's repeated sending of trash-carrying balloons to the South. But it did not turn on the loudspeakers the next day in an apparent bid to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.

"The government is working on holding a meeting with related civic groups as swiftly as possible for close communication," a ministry official said.

The ministry has said it will not officially ask defectors' groups to refrain from launching the leaflet campaigns, citing the Constitutional Court's related ruling last year.

In September, the court ruled that a clause banning leaflet launches in the law on the development of inter-Korean relations is unconstitutional, saying it excessively restricts the right to freedom of expression.

The government said police could exercise their authority to deter activists' leaflet operations at the scene, if necessary, in cases that the move poses a serious threat to border residents.

For years, North Korean defectors in the South and conservative activists have sent big plastic balloons carrying leaflets critical of Kim Jong-un in what they say is aimed at freeing North Korean people from the tyrant regime with outside information.