As tensions ratchet up between the two nations, North Korea is preparing to flood the South with “mountain-high” piles of propaganda leaflets denouncing the South Korean president and North Korean defectors, state media in the country reported Saturday.
Many of the leaflets will feature the face of South Korean President Moon Jae-in smeared with cigarette butts, an insult insinuating he is trash, the KCNA news agency reported, adding that they were being prepared by university students from the North.
Although North Korea has distributed propaganda leaflets across the border in the past, the practice is more commonly undertaken by North Korean defector groups in the South who fly balloons or send bottles by river filled with flyers, rice and money.
“The enraged people across the country are actively pushing forward with the preparations for launching a large-scale distribution of leaflets to pour the leaflets of punishment upon those in South Korea,” KCNA, which is known for its bombastic tone, reported.
“Every action should be met with proper reaction and only when one experiences it oneself, one can feel how offending it is … the south Korean authorities will face a really horrible time.”
The move comes amid a serious escalation in tensions between the countries, which are still technically at war as their 1950-53 conflict ended without a peace treaty.
Last week Kim Yo Jong, a trusted aide to her brother, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, threatened military action against South Korea. Then on Tuesday, Pyongyang showed demolished an inter-Korean liaison office, set up in a border town in 2018 to foster better ties with the South.
Earlier this month, the North also announced it was suspending communication lines with the South, a move analysts believe is the start of an attempt to manufacture a crisis and force concessions from its neighbor.
The secretive communist nation also said it was pulling away from its relationship with the United States, claiming there had been no actual improvement in ties since the historic handshake between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore two years ago.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a statement Saturday that it was “extremely regrettable that North Korea has disclosed through media about the plan to disseminate propaganda leaflets to South Korea.”
Demanding that their neighbor “stop the plan immediately,” the Ministry said it did “not help in establishing peace on the Korean peninsula and in the development of inter-Korean relations.”
Seoul also said it would “sternly” deal with any people or organizations in the South sending leaflets to the North.
Yuliya Talmazan contributed.