January 14, 2016 09:39
South Korean soldiers on Wednesday afternoon fired warning shots at a North Korean drone flying across the demilitarized zone on the western frontline.
The North also floated propaganda leaflets into the skies over the Seoul metropolitan area, condemning the South for resuming propaganda broadcasts across the border.
The military here takes these moves as confirmation that its own psychological warfare is having an effect and is mulling further steps like setting up huge electronic displays and sending propaganda leaflets as well.
The North Korean drone flew 3 km above the 1st Army Division's Dora Observatory around 2 p.m. Wednesday. When it crossed over the military demarcation line, the South Korean military broadcast several warning messages and fired some 20 machine gun shots at it. The drone then turned back to the North.
Soldiers here had spotted the drone in flight on the North Korean side since the morning. South Korean fighter jets were on standby.
This was the first time since the two sides exchanged artillery fire across the border last August that a North Korean drone has been seen in the frontline area.
The North also floated balloons carrying propaganda leaflets across the Imjin River on Tuesday afternoon and on early Wednesday morning.
Leaflets of various sizes were found in Seoul and Gyeonggi provincial cities near the border like Dongducheon, Gimpo, Paju, Yangpyeong and Uijeongbu.
"Immediately stop propaganda broadcasts that are lighting the fuse of war," one demanded.
Back in June 2004, South Korea halted the floating of propaganda leaflets across the border under an agreement reached in military talks. The South Korean leaflets are now sent by activist groups rather than the government.
But a military spokesman said that could change any time.
The Defense Ministry here is considering increasing the number of high-performance loudspeakers that blare propaganda across the border and resume a campaign using electronic display boards.
They are vulnerable to weather and might invite pot shots from the North Koreans, a ministry official said, "but they'll prove far more effective than loudspeaker broadcasts."
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said, "South Korea is making dangerous moves to cause the ravages of a second Korean War."
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