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Pres. Moon Jae-in criticizes sending of anti-North Korea leaflets

Pres. Moon Jae-in criticizes sending of anti-North Korea leaflets

Posted May. 11, 2021 07:25,   

Updated May. 11, 2021 07:25


South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday publicly criticized the sending of anti-North Korean leaflets to North Korea, saying such activities “throw cold water on inter-Korean relations.” This is the first time that President Moon mentioned sending of anti-North Korean leaflets by civic groups in South Korea. It appears President Moon made the remarks in response to the recently released statement by Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which called anti-North Korea leaflets an “intolerable provocation” and warned of “corresponding action.” However, with the Biden administration promoting a campaign for the free flow of information to North Korea, experts point out Seoul and Washington are not in agreement over the anti-Pyongyang leaflet issue. President Moon will hold his first summit talks with U.S. President Joe Biden on June 21.

In a special address marking his fourth year in office, President Moon said flying anti-Pyongyang leaflets to North Korea is a violation of inter-Korean agreements and South Korean laws, stressing that the government has no choice but to strictly enforce the laws. North Korean defector Park Sang-hak said he launched anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the North last month after the anti-leaflet ban took effect on March 30. President Moon appears to have made the remark to avoid provoking North Korea at a time when Seoul is making efforts to restore inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea dialogues after Washington completed its North Korea policy review. However, some criticized President Moon for taking a submissive attitude toward North Korea.

President Moon said the Biden administration’s new North Korea policy builds upon the foundation of the Singapore Declaration and is in line with the direction of his government. “I will consider the remaining one year of my term to be the last opportunity to move from an incomplete peace toward one that is irreversible. Now, the time for long liberations is also coming to an end. It is time to take action,” President Moon said. Of North Korea’s protest against the Biden administration’s new North Korea policy,

President Moon said he does not believe North Korea has rejected dialogues with the U.S., adding North Korea will have one final time to make a decision. He added he looks forward to North Korea responding positively since it has been given the opportunity to sit down face to face once again with the U.S.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com