Seoul, Korea -“Is South Korea a dictatorship?” Park Sang-hak, the fighter jet leader for North Korea who is demanding defectors and fighting for the freedom of North Korea, regularly sends helium balloons carrying leaflets across the border to North Korea. “Is this a free and democratic country?”

At the end of last month, Parker sent 10 balloons to North Korea containing 500,000 flyers and 5,000 one-dollar bills. He said that he hoped that the North Koreans would understand the truth about the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un and that the North Koreans would rise up against his regime. The leaflets criticized the rule of the Kim dynasty. The dollar bills encourage people to pick up flyers.

In the past 10 years, Park has launched 60 such balloons. The difference now is that this is illegal-Korean law.

Parker told Al Jazeera: “The only prohibition is an evil law against the constitution.”

Park’s balloon launch event has often received media attention.

But in April, he kept secret the location of the incident and launched balloons from the border area late at night to avoid being arrested by the South Korean authorities that the government ordered to curtail their efforts.

On May 6, the police raided his office and promised to conduct a thorough investigation.

Four days later, when he appeared at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Station for questioning, he attacked the Liberal government and explained the contents of the leaflets.

“Those are letters from defectors to our North Korean family. Letters of truth, freedom and love. Now we are not even allowed to write letters?” Park said

North Korean defector Park Sang-hak prepared to release a balloon in a 2016 launch that contained leaflets condemning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.This launch is now illegal [File: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

The Anti-Flyer Act

The December 2020 amendment to South Korea’s “North Korea-South Korea Relations Development Act” prohibits the launch of balloons containing flyers, CDs, USBs and other items to North Korea.

If found guilty, Park will now face a fine of $27,000 and three years in prison.

The Democratic Party and government officials defended the amendment from two aspects.

First of all, this launch threatens the lives of South Koreans living in the border area-in 2014, North Korea trained machine guns on flyers, and the bullets fell on South Korea.

Second, the leaflets hindered their efforts to establish peace with North Korea.

inside The landmark 2018 summit Between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two countries agreed to stop all hostilities, including the distribution of leaflets.

But Park Sanghak continued his activities.

In June last year, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo Jong) threatened with a balloon, North Korea Blew up the newly established inter-Korean liaison office located on the opposite side of the border in North Korea. The explosion can be seen from the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

After the balloon launch in the park in April, Jin Youzhong also weighed it.

“We believe Southern human scum “This is a serious provocation to our country, and the corresponding actions will be investigated,” she said in the official media.

Peacebuilding efforts

Since his first election in 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made peacebuilding a pillar of his government’s agenda.

Following the covert threat of continuing to launch balloons, North Korea blew up the only newly established joint liaison office [File: KCNA via Reuters]

On May 10, he ushered in his fourth-year term, and last year he left him with one year to promote the improvement of Korean affairs in some way.

This can only be achieved with the help of the United States. This month, Moon will travel to the White House with US President Joe Biden to attend the May 21 summit.

Analysts expect that Moon will focus on bringing the United States and North Korea back to the negotiating table.

Moon said: “We will resume the dialogue between the two countries and between the United States and North Korea.”

He also responded to criticisms about anti-smuggling laws.

He said: “It is always undesirable to curb inter-Korean relations by violating the inter-Korean agreement… The government has no choice but to strictly enforce the law.”

Washington was not built until recently Review its policy towards North Korea, Outlines more emphasis on diplomacy.

The recent controversy surrounding the park and his launch may have caused some damage to Moon’s plan.

After the law was passed in December, human rights groups criticized the move. Human Rights Watch believes that activities such as flyers are protected by Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights and other covenants ratified by South Korea.

But some experts suggest that a better understanding of South Korea’s unique situation is needed.

Professor Cai Zhenyuan said: “From a foreign perspective, (the law) looks like an excessive regulation of freedom of speech and expression… However, in the context of the Korean peninsula, this should be accepted for exchanges between North Korea and South Korea. One law.” A Korean political expert at Kyung Hee University told Al Jazeera.

The balloon launch used to happen under the glare of the media, but Park’s latest incident occurred in the dead of night to avoid detection [FIle: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo]

The law and controversy may also affect President Moon’s ability to put the United States on the side of North Korea and make room for the compromise proposed by President Moon.

Last month, U.S. lawmakers convened a special committee to address the issue of freedom of speech on the Korean peninsula, with a focus on “anti-lobular laws.”

The online committee itself began to participate in political activities-President Moon was selected as a pro-North Korean dictator, restricting the rights of North Korean defectors to try to release people from their homes.

Susan Schulte of the Korean Freedom League told the European Commission: “Nothing is more powerful than North Koreans living in freedom in South Korea who can come into contact with North Koreans living under the enslavement of the Kim Jong Il regime.”

Others argue that this kind of testimony and the actions of the balloon launcher itself are more focused on political purposes.

Jeon Su-mi, a human rights lawyer at the Mediation and Peace Association, told the committee: “By distributing leaflets to journalists scattered around, they can establish an active human rights defender image among North Koreans and raise funds for their work.”

Jeon also suggested that North Koreans can also obtain other news from the outside through border towns, and concluded that “distributing leaflets does not make me an effective tool for promoting human rights in North Korea.”

Turn to the radio

Some North Korean defectors did not adopt laws like Park Sanghak, but adopted other strategies.

Huh Kwang-il came to South Korea in 1995 after working as a lumberjack in Russia, where he learned more about the South and the outside world. He once sent CDs and USBs to North Korea, but started shortwave broadcasting in March.

Last month, to commemorate the third anniversary of the Panmunjom announcement held by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un near the border village of Panmunjom, which separates the two countries. The slogan reads: “Implement the Panmunjom Declaration and restore inter-Korean cooperation” [FIle: Ahn Young-joon/Pool via Reuters]

Hugh told Al Jazeera: “Our purpose is to awaken the North Koreans and promote their human rights so that they can ultimately assert that they are the masters of their own sovereignty.”

Hugh also criticized the South Korean president for implementing a law that restricts freedom of speech, so that he felt that he had severely hindered the human rights of others and the “right to know” of North Koreans.

He said: “By oppressing North Koreans, it (the South Korean government) becomes more like a dictatorship, and the ultimate victims are North Koreans.”

Despite this, the moon government firmly restricts the activities of North Korean non-governmental organizations in order to allow North Korea to participate in the twilight of its term.

At the confirmation hearing on May 7, Moon’s latest prime minister’s nomination reiterated the government’s position that the flyer “damages the safety of our people” and violates the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration.

Fighting for Freedom North Korea Park’s fighters chose to challenge the law in violation of the Constitution and filed criminal proceedings against Moon.

Huh’s goal is to continue broadcasting.

“This is the mission of the times given to North Korean refugees. It cannot be stopped.


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