SEOUL, South Korea – A South Korean activist said Wednesday that he launched balloons carrying thousands of DVDs of a movie depicting a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un across the border into North Korea.
Lee Min-bok said he had launched balloons carrying "The Interview" four times from South Korean border towns, most recently on Saturday. Lee says his balloons also contained bundles of dollar bills and political leaflets criticizing Kim's government and highlighting South Korea's economic prosperity in hopes of inspiring North Korean people to resist the leadership in Pyongyang.
North Korea considers leaflets an attack on its government and has long demanded that South Korea ban activists from sending them. The North last year opened fire after activists launched balloons toward the North. Seoul says the activists are exercising free speech.
But the South Korean government recently urged anti-Pyongyang activists to refrain from flying propaganda balloons into North Korea, saying such activities could worsen relations between the countries and put villagers in South Korean border towns at risk.
Lee said he will continue to try to send the balloons into North Korea, saying the leaflets are an important source of outside information for North Koreans that could increase any demands for change.
Lee said he didn't particularly enjoy "The Interview," saying some scenes were too vulgar, but added it would be meaningful for North Koreans to see the worshipped Kim assassinated on screen.
Critics say anti-Pyongyang activists like Lee do more harm than good, questioning the effectiveness of launching balloons when it's unclear how many of them safely land in North Korean territory. Some also say it is unlikely that the average North Korean household would have the equipment needed to play DVDs.