South Koreans Trying to Launch Anti-North Leaflets Clash with Border Residents
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A planned launch of balloons by South Korean activists to send leaflets to North Korea on Saturday with messages critical of its leader turned into a clash with residents of the border area who said the move will threaten peace between the Koreas.
Hundreds of residents of the city of Paju near the heavily militarized border turned up in a show of force, many elderly farmers and some driving tractors aimed at blocking roads, to try and stop the launch of the leaflets by anti-North groups.
North Korea has threatened unspecified "military action" if the launch were to be allowed by South Korean authorities and said it could scuttle planned inter-Korean talks aimed at easing tensions and improve ties.
Local residents, some of whom have been camping out in the area, met a busload of activists and threw eggs at some of them, demanding they turn back and leave them to live in peace, Reuters reported.
"Things like this will trigger artillery firing at us," said Kwon Soon-wan, 63, who said he was born and raised in the township of Munsan, which is the northern-most area of Paju, and runs a snack-bar there.
"Safety is top priority because it's our lives that are hanging in the balance," he added.
Choi Woo-won, one of the activists pelted with an egg, said: "By the time our leaflets cover all of North Korea, murderer Kim Jong Un will perish and be destroyed."
But it was not clear whether the group would be able to go ahead with the planned launch of the leaflets, after activists who advocate engagement with the North sabotaged some balloons.
Several hundred police were on site, adding to the chaos in a normally quiet area visited by South Korean and some Chinese tourists.