NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 6 (June 5, 2008) |
*** Inter-Korean Relations
N. Korea Demands S. Korea Stop Scattering Anti-Pyongyang Leaflets
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned on May 30 that the "frozen" inter-Korean relations would enter a "catastrophic phase" unless South Korea immediately stops dropping anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into the communist state.
The warning by the head of the North's delegation to inter-Korean working-level military talks came in a message sent to the South Korean military. "If they (the South Korean authorities) do not want present inter-Korean relations to lead to a catastrophic phase, they should take immediate steps to stop all forms of reckless scattering of leaflets at once," the message carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency said.
Relations between the Koreas have chilled since the inauguration of conservative President Lee Myung-bak on Feb. 25. Lee's government has said it will link further inter-Korean cooperation programs to progress on the North's nuclear disarmament, in stark contrast with the positions of the two previous administrations that provided hundreds of millions of dollars in free aid to the North under their "sunshine policy" of engaging Pyongyang.
The North, in retaliation, expelled all South Korean officials from the communist state and cut off government-level dialogue with Seoul.
In the message, the North claimed Seoul resumed the spread of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets after Lee took office, mobilizing its military and right-leaning civic groups, in violation of an inter-Korean military agreement to stop slandering each other.
In June 2004, the Koreas agreed during high-level military talks to stop propaganda via broadcasting or leaflets along the heavily armed demilitarized zone, which bisects the two countries, to follow up on the June 2000 inter-Korean summit agreement on peace and reconciliation.
Those leaflets have been intensively scattered in dozens of North Korean areas near the inter-Korean border from large balloons in May alone, the North claimed.
South Korea will have to assume all responsibility if "frozen inter-Korean relations" enter "an uncontrollable catastrophic phase" because of its leaflet-scattering activities, the North warned.
The South Korean military, however, denied distributing any hostile leaflets against North Korea. "Our government hasn't been involved in such a thing since the two sides agreed to stop slandering each other in June 2004," a senior military official said, requesting anonymity. He refused to comment on the alleged spread of leaflets by South Korean civic groups.
In a related move, a source who is well-informed on situations in North Korea said that a large quantity of leaflets criticizing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his family members were scattered in Pyongyang and the nearby port city of Nampho on May Day. The incident upset the North Korean authorities and prompted them to conduct an investigation, the source said. "They take it seriously since the leaflets dealt with Kim's family," the source added.
Educators of South and North Korea Meet at Mt. Kumgang
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Educators from South and North Korea held a two-day conference at the North Korean resort of Mt. Kumgang from May 29 and resolved to endeavor for implementation of the two inter-Korean summit agreements from 2000 and 2007.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on May 30 that the educators resolved to launch a struggle to open a new era of independent reunification, peace and prosperity under the banner of the June 15 joint declaration and the October 4 declaration.
The KCNA added that the participants underscored the need for the educators to conduct a dynamic struggle to uphold and implement the June 15 and Oct. 4 declarations under any circumstances and remove all legal and institutional barriers to national unity and reunification.
The two sides were represented by the South's Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union and the North's Korean Education Workers Union. But this year, the South's conservative Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations did not participate in the conference.