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Christmas lights plan ruffles N.K. feathers

South’s military to set up seasonal decorations for first time since 2004


North Korea is once again threatening South over plans to light Christmas decorations on the border.

On Sunday, North Korea said that lighting of Christmas decorations at Aegibong in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province could result in an “unpredictable situation.”

Aegibong is located about 3 kilometers from North Korean lines, and Pyongyang has long criticized the Christmas lights at the location as being part of Seoul’s psychological warfare program.

The North has traditionally been highly sensitive to psychological warfare programs, and has in the past threatened to make targeted strikes against locations from which related programs such as leaflet distribution and anti-Pyongyang broadcasts are made.

“The aim of the conservatives is to provoke us and step up anti-republic psychological warfare through the gambit of lighting the tower,” an editorial on Pyongyang’s propaganda website said.

“If the gambit leads to unpredictable results, all responsibilities will be laid on the warmongers of the puppet regime.”

In addition to lighting decorations at light decorations at Aegibong, the South’s military plans to set up similar decorations at two other locations along the border that are easily visible from the north side of the military demarcation line that divides the two Koreas.

The two additional Christmas “trees” will be located in central and eastern regions of the border, and will remain in place from around Christmas day until early January.

Unlike the lights at Aegibong, which were lit last year for the first time in seven years, the decorations at the two other locations will be set up for the first time since 2004, when anti-Pyongyang propaganda tools were taken down after the second minister-level military talks in June of that year.

Aside from the developments regarding Christmas decorations, the North has been taking an increasingly belligerent tone against Seoul in recent weeks.

On Nov. 24, North Korea’s Korea Central News Agency reported that the Supreme Command of the North Korean People’s Army would turn Cheong Wa Dae into a “sea of fire” and that the fire will grow until it destroys “the base of the traitors.”

The threat, which came in response to the Joint Chief of Staff’s drill in the West Sea held on the anniversary of the shelling of Yeonpyeongdo on Nov. 23, was the first to use the term “sea of fire” since February.

Since then the communist regime has used the term “sea of fire” almost daily in its anti-Seoul rhetoric.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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