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Pyongyang outraged by South Korean plans to place Christmas tree near border again

December 05, 2014, 9:37 UTC+3 PYONGYANG PYONGYANG December, 5. /TASS
The Christmas tree near the border has been a source of diplomatic and military tension, but this year the South Korea demolished it in consideration of the rising risk of collapse
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Steel Christmas tree lit up at the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea (Archive)

Steel Christmas tree lit up at the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea (Archive)

© AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

PYONGYANG, December 5. /TASS/. The faithful in North Korea are insulted by the intention to place a Christmas tree on Aegibong Hill in South Korea near the border between the south and the north, a representative of the believers' council said in a statement on Friday.

The Christian Council of Korea, which came out with the idea, has “practically supported the hostile policy” of South Korea’s authorities against Pyongyang, the representative said.

The council indifferent to relationship between the North and the South and the fate of the Korean nation has turned out to be a false religious organization loyal to the puppet regime, he added.

All who seek reunification of the fatherland, unity, peace and security on the Korean Peninsula must refuse to support confrontational actions of authorities of the United States and South Korea, he said, demanding that the South Korean council must refuse to participate in the psychological war against North Korea and warning that the decision to mount a Christmas tree may lead to unpredictable consequences.

The Christmas tree on Aegibong Hill near the border has been a recurring source of diplomatic and military tension with the North, which once threatened to shell the tower.

South Korea earlier this year demolished a Christmas tree at the border, removing the source of conflict.

It was a cone-form metal tower that South Koreans used to cover with colorful lights as part of propaganda efforts against North Korea. The tower could be seen as far away as the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

But the removal was carried out purely in consideration of the rising risk of collapse, a South Korean official said.

A maintenance team of the defense ministry conducted a safety check on major military facilities last November and the Aegibong light tower was given a D grade, the official said, refuting any speculation that the demolition had anything to do with inter-Korean relations. The official said that the tower was at risk of collapse in case of strong winds or other physical pressure.

Since being built in 1971, the tower was lit annually during the Christmas season until Seoul and Pyongyang agreed in a military dialogue to stop propaganda activities at the border areas in 2004. Seoul, however, resumed the ceremony in 2010 after the North's sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March of the same year.

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