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[Editorial] Seditious leaflets on streets of Seoul

Posted September. 20, 2000 15:18,   


Subsequent to the seditious leaflets to defame Grand National Party (GNP) leader Lee Hoi-Chang found at Shilla Hotel last week, more handbills were found on many streets in Seoul that slander South Korean societies while extolling North Korean Defense Chairman Kim Jong-Il.

What defies our sound understanding and common sense is the fact that such leaflets reminiscent of the Cold-War remnants were found in Seoul's many downtown areas, especially at a time the South-North reconciliation and cooperation are sought for mutual co-existence and common prosperity.

Police released its initial findings after the investigation of the leaflets' printed qualities and conditions. They are certain that the handbills were sent to the South by balloons. According to police, the North has in the past concentrated its efforts to send its propaganda leaflets by utilizing the west-ward seasonal winds during April, September and October. The balloons this time, police added, appear burst open in the skies above Shilla Hotel.

But, if police findings are true accounts of the case, the GNP asks, how is it possible for those leaflets to be found inside the Academy for Korean Studies building as well as at the Hotel lounge? They were, GNP argues, clearly scattered by man's hands. In a nutshell, according to the opposition party, they prove that pro-Pyongyang leftists and resident spies in the South are making an organized effort to abuse the opportunities of inter-Korean reconciliation for their cause.

We are rather curious about what motivated the North to drop such leaflets in the South even if police explanations are authentic accounts. We are having a historic time for inter-Korean relations by holding the 2nd South-North Red Cross Societies talks from Wednesday which will be followed by the two Koreas' defense ministerial meeting on Sept. 25. Yet, it will greatly damage such atmosphere of mutual reconciliation if Pyongyang is still intent on reviling of any particular person or persons in the South as well as slandering of the South and its political system.

Moreover, the Ministry of Unification's analysis informs us that Pyongyang since the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration has been launching vigorous campaigns to tighten its internal regimentation and to strengthen its ruling apparatus. Pyongyang's media in particular are reportedly broadcasting that Defense Chairman Kim Jong-Il is eulogized in the South as Korea's unification President by mentioning names of particular persons whose existence in the South is not confirmed. Pyongyang's propaganda is apparently creating an atmosphere as if the entire South Korean societies are in euphoric sentiments to follow Chairman Kim.

We cannot therefore rule out the possibility that several hundreds of those leaflets found in Seoul's downtown areas may have originated from Pyongyang's such massive propaganda offensives. Such expressions as ``General Kim as the Sun for Korean unification'' contained in the handbills give rise to our skepticism over Pyongyang's South Korea policies.

If there are any forces in the South attempting to disrupt our society, as the GNP argued, by abusing the present atmosphere for inter-Korean reconciliation, this will be no small concern for us all. Police are urged to carry out thorough investigations into the matter so as not to cause any more confusion or wild speculations.