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Unification ministry holds talks with anti-Pyongyang leafleting group

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This photo shows garbage tied to a balloon launched by North Korea at a rice paddy in Incheon, just west of Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

This photo shows garbage tied to a balloon launched by North Korea at a rice paddy in Incheon, just west of Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

The unification ministry on Friday held talks with an activist organization that has launched anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea amid heightened tensions over the North's reaction to the campaign.

It is the first meeting with such activists by the unification ministry following the North's launch of more than 1,600 trash-carrying balloons toward the South from May 28 to June 9 in what it has called a "tit-for-tat" response to the leaflets from the South.

A ministry official declined to give details of the closed-door meeting's discussions but noted the ministry plans to meet with other groups that send anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the North amid concerns over the campaign further increasing tensions.

During the talks, the ministry is said to have not requested the group to refrain from such activities.

"As (we) do not want tensions on the Korean Peninsula, we said we would refrain from public activities," the head of the organization told Yonhap News Agency by phone. "There weren't any particular comments from the ministry."

For years, North Korean defectors in the South and conservative activists have sent leaflets to the North via balloons to help encourage North Koreans to eventually rise up against the Kim family regime.

North Korea has bristled at the propaganda campaign amid concern that an influx of outside information could pose a threat to its leader Kim Jong-un.

In response to the North's recent trash balloon campaign, the South's military blared anti-Pyongyang broadcasts through its border loudspeakers Sunday for the first time in six years.

The move prompted the North to send more balloons that night, with Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of the North's leader, warning of unspecified "new counteraction" if the South sends anti-Pyongyang leaflets and plays its border loudspeakers. (Yonhap)



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