“Hell’s Bells” comments on the flurry of events that have occurred since June, when Kim Yo Jong – Kim Jong Un’s younger sister – rose to further prominence as she levelled threats against South Korea. Her threats followed the release of balloons full of leaflets by defector-activists across the inter-Korean border and climaxed with the blowing up of the inter-Korean Liaison Office – a symbol of inter-Korean cooperation. The Moon Jae In administration, long anxious to maintain good relations with North Korea, appears to have blinked: In an unprecedented step, the country’s unification ministry soon announced that it would be conducting “audits” against 25 North Korean human rights-related organizations. This, of course, has led many to wonder whether the Moon government is doing North Korea’s “bidding” by putting the very organizations that express opposition to the North Korean regime – many of which have nothing to do with the balloon launches and intensely oppose the ministry’s plans to conduct the audits – in the hot seat. South Korea’s incoming unification minister, Lee In Yong – a noted South Korean progressive who places a priority on peaceable relations with North Korea, seemingly at all costs – is now the face of efforts to outlaw any future balloon releases, not to mention the suspicious efforts to audit the non-profits. While the unification ministry officially denies any discrimination toward these groups, the optics of all this – many might agree – are not particularly good.
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