December 03, 2014 10:59
A new 9 m tall Christmas tree on Aegibong Peak in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province is to twinkle a message of consumerism and progress across the border to North Korea after a permanent steel structure was pulled down. But the new Christmas tree will be a temporary structure.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok on Tuesday said, "The Christian Council of Korea asked us if they could set up a temporary Christmas tree on Aegibong Peak around Christmas and light it up as a symbol of their hopes for peace. We accepted their request out of respect for their hopes for peace and to honor religious freedom."
The tree will only stand from Dec. 23 to Jan. 6.
The council had persistently lobbied the ministry to set up another permanent Christmas tree on the peak. A military source warned North Korea could react sensitively since Dec. 17 marks the third anniversary of the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
"We are monitoring the movements of the North Korean military," the official added, since it is not above taking pot shots at objects it considers provocative.
Conservative born-again Christian groups are heavily involved in propaganda against the North and efforts to help North Korean defectors, largely because they consider the North's nominally communist ideology an insult to their religion.
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