A source from inside North Korea has reported that a large number of leaflets, presumably sent by South Korean civilian organizations, are circulating in South Hwanghae Province, and that the People’s Safety Ministry in the province is attempting to collect them.
The source from the province, which lies on the southwest flank of North Korea, said on the 3rd, “A massive number of leaflets from South Korea were scattered around Yeonan, Baecheon and Cheongdan in South Hwanghae Province on the 28th of last month. While rumors spread that there were dollars attached to the leaflets, the PSM started gathering them.”
Provincial PSM agents and community watch guards are involved in collecting the leaflets on the coast and in hilly areas around the three towns, which lie due west of Kaesong. On the 31st of last month, an instruction was handed down whereby, “If you find South Korean leaflets, you must report it to the PSM,” the source added.
Two South Korean NGOs are the likely source of the leaflets. On the 27th, defector NGOs dispatched ten specially-produced balloons containing leaflets to commemorate the Korean War armistice agreement from Imjingak, the last stop on the railroad from western Seoul to the border in northwestern Gyeonggi Province.
Then, on the 29th, another organization, the National Action Campaign for Freedom and Democracy in North Korea, sent 30 large balloons north carrying 1,500 one-dollar bills and 1.8 million leaflets condemning both North Korea’s attack on the Cheonan and Kim Jong Il’s brutality.
According to the source, this is not the first time such leaflets have appeared in South Hwanghae Province. He said, “South Korean leaflets were found around Haeju last winter, too. Sometimes South Korean leaflets even reach Byukseong, Jangyeon and Daetan.”
The source explained, “No one reports South Korean leaflets to the PSM anymore.” Reporting the leaflets is followed by an extra investigation into whether or not the person reporting read them; therefore, people are reluctant to report the fact that they picked leaflets up at all, he added.
The source also said that the leaflets have a considerable effect on the North Korean people.
“Those who have never seen the leaflets before are surprised by their good quality at first; small letters printed on a vinyl sheet. Then the contents of the leaflets surprise them once more,” he explained. “In the past, South Korean leaflets were regarded as lies, but many people believe them these days.”
He explained, “Officials tell people that the dollars and the leaflets are poisoned and that they should be careful, but some people even share them with their close friends.” Some people even joke about it, saying things like “Let’s go collect the dollars in the leaflets since we don’t have anything else to do.
According to sources, nobody has been punished for not reporting the leaflets around South Hwanghae Province.
At general-level talks held last May, North Korea warned that access to routes between North and South would be stopped if South Korea continued to distribute the leaflets.