Residents of Paju in Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday demanded an end to the floating of propaganda leaflets to North Korea from Imjingak, a pavilion overlooking the demilitarized zone there. They said worries about a retaliatory attack by North Korea are keeping tourists away from the scenic area.
Owners of some 15 shops and dozens of restaurants near the gate of Imjingak say their monthly sales have dropped 20 to 30 percent in the aftermath of the North's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island last November and recent threats. "We urge defector groups to send the propaganda fliers from somewhere else," they said.
But Park Sang-hak of activist group Fighters for Free North Korea said another 200,000 leaflets describing the ongoing popular uprisings in the Middle East will be attached to helium balloons and floated from the site on Wednesday or Thursday. "We have no intention to move elsewhere since Imjingak is a public, symbolic place for those who miss their home in the North," he added.
On Feb. 16, some 200 North Korean defectors gathered at Imjingak to float balloons carrying propaganda fliers to the North.
The local government in Paju on Friday told authorities that the military should handle psychological warfare against North Korea, not defector group, Mayor Lee In-jae said. "We'll officially call on the military and defector groups for restraint in sending propaganda fliers."