S Korea activists release anti-North leaflets
Agence France-Presse in Paju, South Korea
South Korean activists floated anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border with North Korea on Monday, a week after the North threatened military action over a similar propaganda exercise.
Around a dozen activists released four balloons carrying 30,000 leaflets from a park in the border town of Paju, north of Seoul.
There were minor scuffles with local residents who sought to block the balloon launch for fear of North Korean reprisals.
A week ago, South Korean police had cordoned off the same area around Paju to prevent a group of North Korean defectors from launching leaflets across the border.
The police response followed a warning from the North Korean military that it would direct a “merciless military strike” on the area if the event went ahead.
Although North Korea has threatened strikes in the past, last week’s statement was unusually strong with its specific naming of the time and location, coupled with a warning to local residents to evacuate the area.
Tensions are running high on the Korean peninsula ahead of South Korea’s presidential election in December.
There are widespread concerns in the South that the North may seek to provoke a clash ahead of the ballot.