January 08, 2015 10:02
North Korea on Wednesday complained that Seoul is "tolerating and abetting" the launch of propaganda leaflets across the border.
In a commentary, the North's official [North] Korean Central News Agency urged South Korean authorities to "make clear whether they want to bring inter-Korean relations to the brink of rupture or to genuinely seek improvement and dialogue."
A defector activist group on Monday sent helium balloons carrying 600,000 anti-regime leaflets into the North from Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province.
South Korea "should be aware that the dialogue atmosphere" created by a visit of senior North Korean officials to Incheon during the 2014 Asian Games "has been dampened by the release of leaflets," KCNA said.
The reaction was relatively muted compared to previous occasions, when important state agencies responded to leaflet launches with threats of war.
Seoul is keen for dialogue to resume and rather irked by activists' insistence on sending propaganda leaflets.
Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byung-chul Wednesday said a court's decision in favor of curbing leaflet campaigns for the sake of public safety should be respected.
"There's no change in the government position that it's impossible to restrict people's freedom of expression," he said. "But the government can take and has taken necessary measures for fear of harm and damage to people's lives or property."
A senior unification committee official said, "Now that we need to open the window for inter-Korean dialogue, we wish people would refrain from doing anything that could dampen the atmosphere."
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