Almost five years ago, 46 sailors on a South Korean warship were killed in a torpedo attack that Seoul blamed on North Korea—and if North Korea doesn't officially say it's sorry for that ambush by Thursday (the fifth anniversary), an activist group will eventually fly 500,000 propaganda leaflets across the border in balloons, the Yonhap news agency reports. Fighters for a Free North Korea, led by North Korean defector Park Sang-hak, had initially planned the airdrop for Thursday—when it also planned to send over 10,000 DVDs of The Interview (which satirizes Kim Jong Un, the North's "supreme leader"). "I was sorry that North Koreans wouldn't be able to see [the film], so I wanted to find a way of showing it to them," Park told the Los Angeles Times last week via telephone. But the drop was postponed after Pyongyang's reaction.
The North, somewhat predictably, had met news of the possible balloon assault with its usual bravado. "All the firepower strike means of the frontline units of the (Korean People's Army) will launch without prior warning … to blow up balloons," it said, per AFP; the state news agency added that such an action would be "the gravest politically motivated provocation" and "a de facto declaration of a war." South Korean residents along the border were also worried, and a Seoul spokesman recommended today at a press conference that even though the balloon launch would be "a matter of freedom of speech, which is a basic right," that he hoped the activists would make a "wise" decision of restraint for the sake of the border population. (Even the North and South Korean languages are drifting apart.)