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Defectors determined to send packages to N. Korea despite growing tensions Updated: 2020-06-19 13:48:36 KST

Empty plastic water bottles being filled with rice and a face mask.
Recent tensions between the two Koreas are not enough to stop this North Korean defector-led group trying to help people north of the border.
The group plans to send five hundred bottles to North Korea, by floating them into the sea near the border on Sunday.
It will mark the 108th time they've sent rice to the North, since they first began in 2016.
The group, reiterating it's a humanitarian act, say they don't understand why they're suddenly deemed controversial, when they've been sending goods to the North for five years now.

"We're sending rice and mask so North Koreans won't starve. How is this provoking them?"

This other group plans to send around one million anti-Pyeongyang propaganda leaflets across the border, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War that started on June 25th, 1950.
They've already sent five-hundred-thousand leaflets denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the regime's human rights abuses, attaching them to hot air balloons in May.
They say they won't stop what they've been doing for over 15 years just because residents near the border are urging them not to provoke North Korea.
But, they say if Pyeongyang apologizes for blowing up the liaison office, and promise to rebuild it, they'll take a step back.

"We're talking facts and truth in a peaceful way. Just restore it, and apologize. Then we'll leave you alone and not send the leaflets for a while."

The South Korean government is stepping up efforts to prevent anti-Pyeongyang leaflet campaigns.
But with the defectors determined to push ahead, their actions are not only becoming a source of tension between the two Koreas, but also causing internal conflict in the South.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : jhee@arirang.com
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