The Republic of Korea's and US soldiers stand guard next to United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) conference buildings at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, the ROK, on April 18, 2018. (SEONG-JOON CHO / BLOOMBERG)
SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) decided Wednesday to file a legal complaint against two civic groups that distributed leaflets criticizing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), after Pyongyang's action to sever all inter-Korean communication lines.
The ROK unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said in a statement that the government will charge the two groups for violating the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act
The ROK unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said in a statement that the government will charge the two groups for violating the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act.
The ministry noted that the government will launch the process of cancelling the permission of incorporation given to the two civic groups.
The civic groups distributed anti-DPRK propaganda leaflets across the inter-Korean border by flying balloons or setting the sealed plastic bottles into the ocean near the border areas.
The ministry said such acts were in violation of the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act that requires people to get approval from the government before sending materials to the DPRK.
Such acts were also directly in violation of the agreement between the leaders of the two Koreas, escalating inter-Korean tensions and endangering the lives and safety of people residing near the border areas, the ministry added.
The ROK's action came a day after the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the DPRK will "completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the north and the south, which has been maintained through the north-south joint liaison office" starting from 12:00 (0300 GMT) on June 9.
Other hotlines will also be cut off, including the East and West Seas communication lines between the two militaries and the hotline between the office building of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the Blue House, the ROK president's office, according to the KCNA.
According to the unification ministry, the DPRK has not answered the call from South Korea through all inter-Korean communication lines.
The hotlines were cut after the DPRK protest on anti-Pyongyang leaflets flown on May 31 by a civic group, composed mostly of defectors from the DPRK, across the inter-Korean border.
HONG KONG NEWS