North Korea threatens to attack South Korea over leaflets

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s military threatened today to strike a South Korean border area where anti-Pyongyang activists plan to launch leaflets from balloons next week. South Korea immediately vowed to retaliate if attacked.

North Korea has made similar threats without following through. Its latest vow came a day after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak warned against provocation as he made a surprise visit to a front-line island shelled by North Korea in 2010.

North Korean defectors and South Korean activists regularly send up balloons carrying leaflets criticizing North Korean leaders. North Korea accuses South Korea of supporting the activity, but Seoul denies it.

Animosity has run high between the Koreas since the North’s 2010 shelling killed two marines and two civilians on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea. Seoul also blames Pyongyang for the sinking of a warship that killed 46 South Korean sailors earlier that year. North Korea denies attacking the ship.

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