Governor of Gyeonggi Province Kim Moon Soo has said that any attempt by North Korea to attack Christmas lights on a hill north of Seoul would be a “clear provocation.”
Kim is due to attend a ceremony at 5:20 PM today for the turning on of the Christmas lights on a tower atop Aegibong, a hill outside Gimpo City which overlooks the DMZ and North Korea.
Speaking this morning at meeting with provincial high officials, Governor Kim said, “It would be a clearly provocative act were North Korea to attack bright lights on South Korean territory.”
This year marks the first time for seven years that the lights, which are erected by Yoido Full Gospel Church, one of the largest Christian churches in the world, have been permitted by the South Korean authorities.
The church, which says it is holding the ceremony to demand an end to North Korean provocations and call for Korean reunification, has been prevented from putting up the lights in previous years to avoid antagonizing North Korea.
Therefore, concerns have been raised that North Korea might attempt to attack the tower on the hill, particularly given that it faces an area of the North which houses a large number of Chosun People’s Army personnel.
However, pointing out that yesterday’s artillery exercise on Yeonpyeong Island would be no justification for any attack on the lights, Kim said, “It preserved very well the sanctity of our national sovereignty,” before emphasizing, “There should be no further splits in public opinion.”
Nevertheless, North Korea regards the Christmas lights as one element of psychological warfare, and as such may feel that they are a suitable target, particularly following yesterday’s exercise, which Pyongyang publicly vowed to respond to but has not, as yet, done so.
The ceremony for the turning on of the lights is due to be attended by more than 400 people including Kim and other high ranking South Korean political, military and religious figures.