The Korea Herald

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Seoul may scrap plans for border Christmas lights

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 20, 2011 - 15:21

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South Korea will reconsider plans to light Christmas decorations along the border owing to the recent developments in North Korea, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said Tuesday.

Speaking to the National Assembly’s defense committee, Kim said that the ministry plans to “reconsider the plans as they are not suitable for the current situation,” referring to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Dec. 17.

While the ministry will reconsider related plans, the religious organizations behind the decorations at Aegibong in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province have scrapped their plans for this year.

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 and has threatened that the decorations could lead to “unpredictable situations.”

“With North Korea having designated the period until the 29th as a period of mourning, it was deemed that going ahead with the lighting (of the decorations) was against the national spirit,” the spokesman for the Yoido Full Gospel Church said. The church belongs to the Assemblies of God of Korea, which planned the event at Aegibong.

He was, however, unable to confirm whether the decision was made at the government’s request or through an internal process at the Assemblies of God of Korea.

He added that related plans were unlikely to be put into action after the end of North Korea’s mourning period.

The churches’ plans were approved by the Ministry of National Defense on Dec. 11. In addition to the church-sponsored lights, the government plans to light decorations at two locations in Gangwon Province will also be scrapped.

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