SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s printing retailers have been working additional time to revive a favorite weapon of Cold War-era psychological warfare: sending thousands and thousands of propaganda leaflets throughout the world’s most closely armed border and scattering them over South Korea.
The tit-for-tat transfer was introduced on Monday by the North, which has turn out to be incensed by the leaflets that defectors from the North have sent from the South to their Communist dwelling nation in latest months, the North’s official information company stated.
The pledge by the North to retaliate presents one other risk to the fragile détente on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea stated it was getting ready 3,000 balloons to carry the leaflets throughout the border, together with cigarette butts and different trash. The defectors have continued their propaganda efforts regardless of protests from Pyongyang and inter-Korean agreements to cease them.
“The largest-ever distribution of leaflets against the enemy are almost complete,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported, including that publishing and printing homes in Pyongyang had printed 12 million leaflets, with these in provinces getting ready to print thousands and thousands extra.
“The time for retaliatory punishment is drawing near,” it added. “South Korea has to face the music.”
North Korea has been expressing increasingly growing frustration with South Korea and the United States, particularly since the second summit assembly between the North’s chief, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump collapsed in Vietnam in February final 12 months.
This month, it seized upon the leaflets despatched by activists in South Korea to begin reversing the détente, cutting off all communications lines with South Korea and blowing up a joint liaison office it had operated with the South in the previous two years.
Leaflets have been a standard psychological warfare software utilized by each Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War.
They had agreed to cease such cross-border propaganda, together with loudspeaker broadcasts alongside the border, a number of occasions since the 1970s. They additionally tried to de-escalate their propaganda duel after a landmark summit in 2000 at which they agreed to promote reconciliation. The two Koreas once more reached the similar settlement when Mr. Kim and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea met in 2018.
But anti-North Korean activists in the South have resumed sending propaganda balloons into the North lately as inter-Korean relations have soured, particularly over the North’s nuclear weapons program. The balloons carried greenback payments, transistor radios, laptop thumb drives containing South Korean cleaning soap operas, and leaflets that referred to as Mr. Kim a “bloody pig” toying with nuclear weapons and merciless sufficient to kill his own uncle and half brother.
This month, South Korea vowed to use the police to cease any try by the activists to ship propaganda balloons to the North. It stated that the leaflets did little aside from frightening the North and additionally created trash in the South as a result of many of the balloons by no means make it throughout the border. Seoul can also be pushing to revise the home legal guidelines to ban such leaflets.
On Monday, the North stated the leaflets from the South had been “an intolerable insult” about the North Koreans’ “most sacred mental core.” It stated the South Koreans would cease sending their balloons solely when they noticed North Korean leaflets falling from the sky and skilled “how painful and how irritating it is to dispose of leaflets and waste.”
North Korea didn’t make clear when it could begin releasing its balloons throughout the border, however stated its leaflets would replicate “the wrath and hatred” of its individuals.
Over the weekend, North Korean state information media launched images of leaflets produced in Pyongyang. They mocked Mr. Moon as a grasping one that had gorged on sturgeon, mushrooms and different gourmand dishes whereas visiting Pyongyang in 2018 however had since reneged on his promise to enhance financial ties on the peninsula. Photos additionally confirmed plastic bundles full of leaflets, cigarette butts and ashes, hair and different rubbish — presumably prepared to be dumped in the South.
North Korea despatched comparable trash payloads by balloon in 2016, calling Park Geun-hye, then the chief of the South, a “filthy president,” as South Korea turned on high-powered loudspeakers to blare pop songs and harsh criticism of Mr. Kim throughout the border.