The government's request Monday that activists here refrain from floating propaganda leaflets across the border has sparked strong opposition from the organizations here.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said that in high-level talks held last week, the two Koreas agreed to stop mutual vilification and denunciation against "authorities."
"Although we have no legal grounds to crack down" on activists floating such leaflets, "we're asking them for restraint in view of conciliatory efforts in inter-Korean relations."
Activists were outraged. Park Sang-hak of Fighters for Free North Korea said, "We don't put bombs in the balloons but just want to let North Koreans know the truth. Nobody has the right to deny the 20 million North Korean people access to the truth."
Another activist said, "We have no intention of stopping" the flotation of leaflets across the border. But he added the group will do so "quietly."
Meanwhile, the government said the recent cross-border talks did not discuss any food and fertilizer aid, which Seoul has traditionally given the North after reunions of families separated by the Korean War.