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(LEAD) Opposition party mulls bill against anti-N. Korea leaflets

2014/11/04 15:30

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's main opposition party will study ways to restrict civic groups' flying of anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border, its chief policymaker said Tuesday, citing heightened cross-border tensions resulting from the campaign.

Last week, Pyongyang rejected Seoul's proposal to hold high-level talks, claiming the South Korean government is behind the leaflet campaign led by North Korean defectors in the South. The leaflets, carried by large balloons, mostly criticize the communist regime and the abysmal human rights conditions in the North.

Seoul insists that it has no legal grounds to stop the activities of civic groups, citing freedom of speech.

In mid-October, the two Koreas exchanged machine gunfire across the heavily fortified border after a group of activists sent leaflets into the North.

"Leaders of defector groups say they will continue to secretly scatter leaflets across the border, but our party can no longer watch the government's laissez-faire attitude," Rep. Baek Jae-hyun, the chief policymaker of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), said in a party meeting.

"We will soon study legal measures to restrict the flying of such leaflets."

   Baek also expressed strong regret over the two Koreas' failure to hold high-level talks last week, saying both sides neglected the people's wish to improve inter-Korean ties.

Rep. Yoon Hu-duk of the opposition party, meanwhile, filed a resolution with the National Assembly, calling for an end to the leaflet campaign.

The resolution, signed by 25 other NPAD lawmakers, urges the government to block the activity under the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act, swiftly execute a ban on cross-border slander and normalize ties with the North through dialogue.