North and South Korea exchange fire amid tension over cross-border anti-Pyongyang leafleting

The North had warned the South that there would be an "uncontrollable catastrophe" if it did not rein in anti-DPRK activists

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The Independent Online

Gunfire has been exchanged by North and South Korea, amid heightened tensions over the activities of anti-DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) protesters.

South Korea’s Defence Ministry said machinegun rounds were fired into its border town of Yeoncheon resulting in the return of fire into the North, Reuters reports.

The tense moves come as activists in the South launch balloons, which contain propaganda leaflets condemning Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship, across the border –the latest in a series of attempts to do so.

Last month, DPRK’s regime warned that leafleting amounts to a “grave provocation”.

In quotes reported by the Daily NK, it said that if the South “truly wants to mend ties and improve inter-Korean relations, it must immediately halt such confrontational brotherhood tactics that have gone to the extreme in this leaflet strategy”.

 

The group, Fighters for Free North Korea, which is led by defectors, released 200,000 leaflets nevertheless.

Today, the group sent a further batch of leaflets encased within 10 balloons and, according to Korean news agency Yonhap, another protester launched 1.32 million in 23 balloons from the town of Yeoncheon.

The rounds fired from North Korea caused no casualties or damage, but led the South’s military to respond with “40 rounds from the K-6 machine guns” along the border, an official confirmed.

The two countries engage in maritime disputes from time to time, regarding its boundaries, however land hostilities are rare.

Pyongyang had warned that there would be an “uncontrollable catastrophe” if Seoul did not stop the activists from its leaflet campaign.

It comes as confusion over the whereabouts of the DPRK leader intensifies.

Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since 3 September, with speculation further fuelled by his absence from today’s anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party.

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