Korea church scraps border Christmas lights
In the past, South Korean churches have erected large Christmas displays near the North Korean border during the holidays. These displays were often condemned as “psychological warfare” by the North Korean regime and as an attempt to spread Christianity into the country. Plans to erect the lights this year were scrapped however because local residents near the border fear North Korea may respond with artillery if the decorations go up.
11/27/2012 North Korea (UCANews.com)- A South Korean church group has scrapped plans to display Christmas lights near the border with North Korea after residents voiced fears Pyongyang might shell the illuminations.
The Military Evangelical Association of Korea had planned to set up the giant display on three tree-shaped steel towers on hills near the heavily fortified border.
The proposal required approval from the defense ministry as the hills are within three kilometers of the frontier.
According to the ministry, local residents had protested against the plan on the grounds it might provoke a military response from North Korea. As a result, the church group agreed last week to shelve the proposal.
"We respect the group's decision," a ministry spokesman told AFP.
Before the South's "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with North Korea launched in 1998, the seasonal lighting displays were common.
Pyongyang repeatedly condemned them as "psychological warfare" aimed at spreading Christianity to the isolated socialist North.