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South Korean Christians sing a Christmas song in front of a 100-foot-tall (30-meter-tall) steel Christmas tree near the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas.
South Korean Christians sing a Christmas song in front of a 100-foot-tall (30-meter-tall) steel Christmas tree near the demilitarised zone dividing the two Koreas.
Image: Lee Jin-man/AP/Press Association Images

Korean tensions over giant 'Christmas tree' near DMZ resurface

It’s that time of year again when the South lets Christian groups decorate a giant tower near the border and the North reckons its “psychological warfare”…
Dec 15th 2011, 3:32 PM 3,976 8

YOU MAY REMEMBER last Christmas that tensions on the Korean peninsula reared their ugly head over a near 100-foot Christmas tree-shaped tower near the border between North and South. Well, it’s happened again.

Last Christmas, the South Korean government allowed a Christian group to light a massive steel broadcasting tower near the demilitarised zone (DMZ) for the first time in seven years and it’s doing the same again this year, and then some.

According to The Telegraph, two other Christian groups will be allowed to light up frontline towers near the border which will be visible across it in the North.

South Korea’s defence ministry says the decision is meant to help guarantee freedom of expression and religion but the North hasn’t taken too kindly to the whole endeavour.

According to the State-run Uriminzokkiri news ageny, the North considers the lighting of the tree as a form of “psychological warfare” and has warned that it would trigger “unexpected consequences”.

The trees are to stay lit for 15 days from 23 December and will be bolstered by a security presence.

Relations between the two Koreas have become strained in recent times after the North allegedly sank one of the South’s warships, killing 46 people in March 2010. While in November of last year it was widely suspected of having fired on a South Korea island, killing four people.

Last year: Korean tensions resurface… over giant Christmas tree

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Hugh O'Connell

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