Anti-Pyongyang Leaflets over Korean Borders Heighten Regional Tensions
Since the division in 1945, the conflicts between North Korea and South Korea over legitimate governments have only heightened. These conflicts severed the bilateral diplomatic relations and often led to war-like situations between both the countries.
To ease-off growing tensions, both the countries signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula in 2018, after which a major diplomatic breakthrough was significantly observed in their relations. But little did they known that it would not completely trail off the ongoing tensions.
Several defectors and activists have been continuously flying anti-Pyongyang leaflets over the border, criticising the North Korean Authoritarian, Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear ambitions and dismal human rights record. They even expressed their dissent over North Korea and South Korea’s relationship.
Taking into consideration the growing criticism by activists and defectors, North Korea on Thursday warned to end the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement. If the peace promoting agreement ends, it would be a challenging situation for both the countries.
A news suggested that North Korea could permanently shut a liaison office with the South and an inter-Korean factory park in the border town of Kaesong, which have been major symbols of reconciliation between both the Koreas, if the south fails to prevent activists’ actions. The office has been temporarily closed since late January due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the time, North Korean authorities have largely been termed as offensive, with minimal tolerance level for disruptive behaviour and so many restrictions, while the south has always been considered more developed and safe for civilians. This time, North Korea wants the South to ban the actions of sending balloons across the border, which it considers as an attack on its government. However, the south has largely backed the act under the label of its activists exercising their freedom of speech.
Following the anti-Pyongyang leaflets, North Korean leader’s sister Kim Yo Jong, in a recent statement, referring to the government in Seoul said, “(South Korean) authorities will be forced to pay a dear price if they let this situation go on while making sort of excuses.”
“If they fail to take corresponding steps for the senseless act against the fellow countrymen, they had better get themselves ready for possibility of the complete withdrawal of the already desolate Kaesong Industrial Park following the stop to tour of (Diamond Mountain), or shutdown of the (North-South) joint liaison office whose existence only adds to trouble, or the scrapping of the (North-South) agreement in military field which is hardly of any value”, Yo Jong added.
Since the inter-Korean agreement took place, it’s been noticed that North Korea has often pressurised the South for its own benefits. It suspended all the virtual cooperation with the South and forced it to restart joint economic projects. It even postponed plans to tear down South Korean-made hotels and other facilities at the North’s Diamond Mountain resort as part of its virus-prevention efforts.
Flying of anti-Pyongyang leaflets has further heightened tensions within both the countries and at borders. Clearly, the North that tightly controls all of its affairs under its authoritarian one-party state run by the Kim dynasty, follows a far different approach than the centralized democratic republic of South Korea. It’s one big reason behind the growing differences between both the nations.
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