South Korea has been sending balloon leaflets referencing the protests in Egypt and Libya over its northern border as part of a campaign to get North Koreans "to think about change." Food, medicines and radios were also secured in light-weight baskets to the balloon leaflets, Reuters reported. The effort has been met by firm resistance by Pyongyang.
On Sunday, the North Korea state-run news agency has issued a statement saying "that it will 'launch direct, targeted firing attacks' at any area where activists or military members are seen releasing the balloons," the Washington Post reports. Post reporter Chico Harlan quotes from a recently released report by economists Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard about the likelihood of the regime "unraveling":
"There are reasons to doubt that a dramatic political unraveling will occur in North Korea any time soon....The regime has aggressively forestalled independent forms of social organization....There are no independent unions, autonomous religious organizations, or forums of intellectuals, all of which have served as platforms for organizing dissent in countries that have democratized in recent decades."
Updated: Joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea are scheduled on Sunday, and North Korea has "accused South Korea and the U.S. of plotting to topple the North's communist government. It said if provoked, North Korea would start a 'full-scale' war, take 'merciless counteraction' and turn Seoul into a 'sea of flames,'" the Associated Press reports.