Tags: north | korea | south | korea | DMZ | activists | balloons

S. Korea to Evacuate DMZ Citizens as North Threatens

Sunday, 21 Oct 2012 12:02 PM

South Korea is preparing to evacuate more than 800 residents along the demilitarized zone after North Korea threatened to fire on activists planning to send balloons across the border carrying leaflets critical of the communist regime.

Citizens residing within the civilian control line will be evacuated if any North Korean movements for a possible attack are spotted, Park Kwang Hae, an official at Paju City Council, said by phone late Saturday. No evacuation orders are in place currently, he said.

A group of South Korean organizations planned to send 200,000 leaflets by balloons near the demilitarized zone at 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Park Sang Hak, leader of the Fighters for Free North Korea, one of the event’s hosts. The threat of an attack against activists is the first since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in December. The activists sent balloons carrying leaflets on five occasions since the younger Kim’s ascension, Park said on Oct. 19.

North Korea’s army will conduct a “merciless military strike” if any move to drop leaflets is detected, according to a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency on Oct. 19. South Korea’s military is prepared to “completely destroy” the origin of a North Korean attack if it occurs, Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin told lawmakers the same day.

The government in the North Korea capital of Pyongyang characterizes the leaflet drops as psychological warfare and an attempt to topple its communist regime — provocations which could ignite a war.

China opposes any action that might escalate tension or military confrontation on the Korean peninsula, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement.

Entry will be limited to Imjingak, the outpost in Paju city from where South Korean activists plan to send the leaflets, Park, the Paju official, said. Imjingak is about 25 miles north of the South Korean capital Seoul.

Residents were ordered to temporarily evacuate, Yonhap News reported Saturday, citing unidentified military officials.

 

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South Korea is preparing to evacuate more than 800 residents along the demilitarized zone after North Korea threatened to fire on activists planning to send balloons across the border carrying leaflets critical of the communist regime.
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2012-02-21
 
 

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