South Korea official signals leaflet balloons might again float over the North

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SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean official prone to oversee North Korean ties mentioned on Thursday he opposed a ban on sending propaganda into North Korea, signalling the potential return to the skies of leaflet-laden balloons that infuriate North Korea.

Kwon Young-se, nominated for the submit of unification minister in a brand new conservative authorities, mentioned he believed a ban on individuals sending propaganda, launched by the outgoing liberal authorities because it tried to enhance ties with the North, was a violation of the proper to free speech.

“I believed legally regulating such actions was constitutionally problematic,” Kwon informed reporters.

North Korean defectors and activists in South Korea had for many years despatched balloons carrying leaflets floating throughout the tightly guarded border between the two Koreas.

They additionally despatched meals, medication, cash, mini radios and USB sticks loaded with South Korean information and dramas through balloons and plastic bottles on border waterways.

North Korea, which continues to be technically at conflict with the South after their 1950-53 battle led to a truce, has in the previous threatened to assault South Korea over the balloons.

The outgoing authorities banned the propaganda efforts in 2020 saying they jeopardised the security of residents on the border.

Defectors and activists denounced the ban as a part of efforts to white-wash the North and silence critics as the authorities tried to enhance ties.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, set to take workplace on May 10, nominated Kwon on Wednesday for the job of dealing with North Korea coverage at the Unification Ministry as a brand new authorities takes form that’s anticipated to take a tougher line with the North.

Kwon mentioned he maintained a place set out in a 2021 commentary wherein he referred to as for abolishing the ban and accused the then administration of neglecting odd North Koreans.

“The present authorities seemed to be solely eager to enhance relations with the North’s management, and never enthusiastic about altering North Korean society,” he wrote at the moment.

Kwon, who will face a parliamentary affirmation listening to, mentioned it could be “tough to normalise” inter-Korean ties at a time when Pyongyang continues to develop its nuclear programme.

A Yoon administration might look “hardline” and “hawkish” because it sought to construct up its navy functionality to raised deter North Korean threats however he would work to create momentum for dialogue to defuse rigidity, Kwon mentioned.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Robert Birsel)



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