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SKoreans light giant border Christmas tree for 1st time in 2 years after NKorean rocket launch

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    A 30-meter-tall (100-foot-tall) steel Christmas tree with about 30,000 light bulbs, is lit by Christian groups at the western mountain peak, known as Aegibong, in Gimpo, South Korea, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Christmas tree would be visible by North Koreans living near the Demilitarized Zone that divided the two Koreas. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)The Associated Press

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    Local residents are blocked by police officers as they try to block Christian groups who light a 30-meter-tall (100-foot-tall) steel Christmas tree with about 30,000 light bulbs that would be visible by North Koreans living near the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, near the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The letters read "Oppose, the light bulbs at Aegibong." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)The Associated Press

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    Local residents, second from left, is blocked by police officers as he tries to block Christian groups which light a 30-meter-tall (100-foot-tall) steel Christmas tree with about 30,000 light bulbs that would be visible by North Koreans living near the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, near the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)The Associated Press

South Koreans have lit a Christmas tree-shaped tower near the tense border with North Korea for the first time in two years following North Korea's rocket launch.

Seoul's Defense Ministry said Sunday that it allowed Christian groups to light the massive steel tower Saturday. It's to stay lit until Jan. 2.

Pyongyang views the tower as propaganda warfare, though it has not yet responded to this year's lighting.

The lighting came 10 days after North Korea placed a satellite into orbit aboard a long-range rocket. South Korea and the U.S. say the launch was a test of banned missile technology.

The tree wasn't lit last year after officials asked Christians to refrain from doing so to avoid tension following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il last December.