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September 24, 2017

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S. Korean activists launch anti-North leaflets

SEOUL -- South Korean activists launched balloons carrying leaflets critical of the North's ruling Kim family across their shared border Sunday to coincide with the regime's 64th anniversary.

Some 10 activists including North Korean defectors in Seoul floated the 10 giant balloons carrying 200,000 small leaflets and 300 DVDs at the Imjingak park near the heavily militarized border with the North.

"Rise up, our 20 million compatriots! Don't be fooled by the deception of Kim Jong Un!" read one leaflet, referring to the North's young new leader, who took over from his father Kim Jong Il after his death last December.

Jong Il himself took over from his own father and the North's founding President Kim Il Sung after his death in 1994.

The family has ruled the impoverished communist state with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult for more than six decades.

The balloons also contained 1,000 U.S. one-dollar bills aimed at encouraging North Koreans to read the leaflets despite heavy punishment by the regime when caught.

"Let's put an end to the third-generation dictatorship, and free North Koreans!" the activists chanted in unison amid heavy security involving some 100 South Korean police officers.

South Korean activists and North Korean defectors have regularly sent anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border using balloons.

The isolated North, which tightly controls news from outside, has responded angrily to past leaflet launches and threatened to fire across the heavily fortified border to stop them.

Across the border in the North, Jong Un marked the anniversary by visiting the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in the capital Pyongyang, where the embalmed bodies of his predecessors are lying in state.

He paid his tributes along with top party and army cadres including his powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek and the military chief Hyon Yong Chul, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

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