NKorea warns SKorea over propaganda leaflets

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s military warned Wednesday that South Korea would face unspecified retaliation if it doesn’t stop activists from launching propaganda leaflets across their divided border.

The two Koreas agreed in 2004 to end decades of propaganda warfare across the Demilitarized Zone dividing the neighbors. However, the South Korean government says it cannot stop activists from sending the leaflets, citing freedom of speech, though it has urged to stop so that they don’t damage ties between the two Koreas.

The North’s military said it “will never tolerate even the slightest acts” of undermining “our leadership’s absolute authority.” The comments came in separate statements issued in Korean and English that were carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

The North demanded South Korea immediately punish activists engaging in sending leaflets and disband their organizations, saying hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets were flown to the North on Jan. 1.

“The separatists at home and abroad will never be able to flee from a stern punishment by the nation for challenging history,” the statement said.

The North has issued similar threats in the past, including one late last year.

Chun Hae-sung, a spokesman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry, said Wednesday that the South has no law that could ban activists from launching leaflets. He didn’t elaborate.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.