Defectors prepare packages to send to North Korea despite growing tensions


SEOUL (Reuters) – A North Korean defector-led group on Thursday ready a whole lot of plastic bottles full of rice which they plan to float into North Korea, despite a authorized problem from South Korean authorities and threats from Pyongyang.

Citing South Korea’s failure to cease the defectors, North Korea this week blew up the joint liaison workplace on its facet of the border, declared an finish to dialogue with South Korea and threatened navy motion.

Denouncing defectors as “mongrel dogs” and “human scum”, North Korea says their actions are an insult to the dignity of the nation’s supreme chief.

South Korea is eager to enhance relations with North Korea, and final week the federal government introduced it might pursue authorized actions in opposition to two defector-led teams, saying their cross-border shipments of help and propaganda had been elevating tensions with North Korea, posing dangers to South Koreans who dwell on the border, and inflicting environmental injury.

Still, one group is planning to send a whole lot of bottles full of rice, drugs and medical face masks to North Korea by throwing them into the ocean close to the border on Sunday, mentioned Park Jung-oh, 61, a North Korean defector who heads the group, referred to as Kuensaem.

“We do this as humanitarian aid amongst those who share the same values, so whatever North Korea says, we will continue to help those in hard situations, the elderly and the victims,” he mentioned.

Gathered at a small park in Seoul, the group crammed dozens of two litre bottles with up to 1.5kg of rice every, sending up to 700kg of rice in whole, Park mentioned.

Kuensaem has been sending items to the North twice a month for the previous 5 years. Sunday will mark their 108th time, Park mentioned.

South Korean authorities have often moved to cease such operations, together with in 2018 throughout a sequence of summits between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un.

“I don’t know why the Unification Ministry is nitpicking at us all of a sudden. The (South Korean) government – the Gangwha police, maritime police and the military – all knew about us,” mentioned Park, unloading rice and bottles from his white truck.

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He mentioned he had not been contacted by any South Korean authorities since they introduced they might pursue authorized motion.

Several defector-led teams repeatedly send flyers over the border, along with meals, $1 payments, mini radios and USB sticks containing South Korean dramas and information. Most use balloons or bottles in rivers.

The two Koreas traded fireplace in 2014 after the North’s navy fired machine weapons at balloons launched by defector activists.

Reporting by Sangmi Cha. Writing by Josh Smith. Editing by Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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