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Debate over regulating leaflets to North Korea

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By Sandip Kumar Mishra

On Aug. 4, the attempt by South Korea's ruling party to regulate South Koreans sending leaflets to North Korea was sent back to the 21-member National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee.

All nine members of the committee from the opposition parties collectively argued against the proposed bill, and the matter was sent to a subcommittee which might take another three months to give a decision.

The subcommittee has three members each from the ruling and opposition parties and it's not going to be easy to get a two-thirds majority in favor of the bill, which is mandatory to have a conclusive opinion. It means that the proposed bill is not only postponed but it may not get passed anytime soon.

Actually, it's a contested issue in South Korea as to whether these leaflets serve any purpose in changing the situation on the ground in North Korea or whether it is appropriate to send them at all.

The question is also whether individuals and groups in South Korea's democracy have freedom to do so and if it is appropriate to regulate these acts as they are meant essentially to inform the North Korean people about their plight and the ills of their political system and leadership?

After carefully pondering these........

© The Korea Times

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