Deserters sending propaganda to North Korea denounce Seoul response

Seoul, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- North Korean brothers sending propaganda and rice across the border from South Korea on Monday criticized an “unconstitutional” campaign against them by Seoul.

The two men run activism groups that have been denounced by the South Korean government in a bid to avoid more tensions with Pyongyang.

Park Sang-hak, who heads the NGO Fighters for a Free North Korea (FFNK), and Park Jung-oh, who heads the Keunsaem group, made headlines in early June after North Korea furiously denounced their activities.

Sang-hak said during an interview with Efe at the Seoul Correspondents Club: “On June 4, Kim Yo-jong, sister of leader Kim Jong-un, first mentioned through the official Rodong newspaper that the FFNK pamphlets were an attack on the dignity of the North Korean government and referred to us as ‘traitors’ and ‘human garbage’.”

His organization releases balloons filled with hydrogen or helium near the border so that the wind blows them to the North, where they burst and spread thousands of messages printed on plastic sheets, usually 50,000 in one fell swoop, that detail the crimes of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his family.

After Pyongyang’s anger, Seoul imposed police blockades to prevent shipments and denounced the two groups for violating laws for airspace and waterways, Keumsaem also sends rice in bottles along a border river, and inter-Korean trade rules, which prohibit the unauthorized sending of merchandise to the North.

Seoul has said the shipments endanger residents in border areas, the North has shot some balloons down, and goes against inter-Korean agreements aimed at reducing military tensions.

Pyongyang has cut off communication with the South and destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office, located on its territory, which has left relations between the two neighbors, which are technically still at war, at their worst since 2017.

Lee Hun, a lawyer representing the activist groups, said Seoul is violating his clients’ basic human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, after the government withdrew their license to operate.

Both brothers have vowed that they will continue to send rice and pamphlets to the country where they were born.

Sang-hak said: “As long as Kim Jong-un continues to threaten the South with missiles and nuclear weapons we will continue to send leaflets.

“And as long as Kim Jong-un continues to threaten more than 20 million North Koreans with detention camps, we will continue to send them.” EFE-EPA


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