NK ready to send 12 mln anti-Seoul leaflets

Jun 23, 2020, 09:21 am

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This captured image from the Korean Central News Agency website shows photos of President Moon Jae-in imprinted on anti-South Korea leaflets./ Source: Yonhap News

AsiaToday reporter Lee Jang-won 

“The only thing left is the northwest wind.” North Korea said Monday it had manufactured 12 million propaganda leaflets to be floated toward South Korea. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and experts, the northwest wind will blow on the Korean Peninsula between Thursday and Friday. The North’s leaflet distribution raises concerns it could be dropped in capital Seoul. 

“Publishing and printing institutions at all levels in the capital city have turned out 12 million leaflets of all kinds reflective of the wrath and hatred of the people from all walks of life,” the Korean Central News Agency said. “Various equipment and means of distributing leaflets, including over 3,000 balloons of various types capable of scattering leaflets deep inside South Korea, have been prepared,” it said. 

North Korea indicated that the time for distribution was imminent, saying, “The time for retaliatory punishment is drawing near.” It did not mention when the leaflets will be distributed, but observers say it will be around Thursday, the 70th anniversary of the 1950-1953 Korean War. Besides, as the North said it would scatter ‘deep inside South Korea’, the pamphlets could be dropped not only in the border area, but also in Seoul.

“On Friday at Panmunjom, the wind is expected to blow from the northwest about 7 meters per second at an altitude of 1,500 meters, and 13 meters per second at an altitude of 5,000 meters,” a meteorologist said. “On Saturday, the wind is expected to blow from the southwest. Therefore, if North is to send leaflets, it will be on Friday,” the expert said. “If the North aims to drop leaflets in Seoul, it is likely to distribute the leaflets from Baengnyeongdo rather than Kaesong.”

Experts believe that weather and wind direction will be a decisive factor on determining the timing of distribution of old-fashioned propaganda leaflets. Park Sang-hak, North Korean defector who leads Fighters for a Free North Korea, a civic group that have sent anti-Pyongyang leaflets for years, previously said, “We are preparing to send leaflets around June 25 when the direction of the wind is favorable.”

North Korea is expected to use cylindrical helium-filled balloons for the launch. Once the balloons travel far enough across the border, a small device is timed to break open the plastic package and scatter the leaflets. Some analysts believe that new means such as drones might be another possible method at its disposal.

“Drones could be an option for disposal, but they are limited in the weight they can carry,” said Yoon Kyu-sik, head of North Korea Future Issue Research Institute. “North Korea is expected to send leaflets when the weather is favorable. Leaflets can fly far enough to Seoul if the wind direction and speed are favorable,” he said. 

However, Yoon was skeptical about the impact of leaflets on the South Korean society even if they were dropped in the capital city. “Even high officials in North Korea are aware that propaganda leaflets have little effect. However, they are responding in their own way because the South distributed leaflets first.”

South Korea’s defense ministry said, “We are closely monitoring moves by the North Korean military regarding the leaflet round-the-clock. In preparations for diverse possibilities, we maintain a firm readiness posture.” The unification ministry voiced regret over North Korea’s leaflet-sending plan and demanded Pyongyang to withdraw it immediately, saying its plan won’t help South-North (Korea) relations. 

#anti-Seoul leaftlet #North Korea #propaganda leaflet 
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