December 4, 2012
UPDATED: Christmas Lights as 'Psychological Warfare'? Only in North Korea
South Korean border residents fear holiday display would provoke bombs.
(Update: The outgoing South Korean government has granted permission for the Christmas lights to be displayed for the first time in nine years.)
The Military Evangelical Association of Korea has agreed to suspend its annual display of Christmas lights amid fears that it might provoke a decidedly Scrooge-like military response from North Korea.
The church group would have erected steel towers strung like Christmas trees within sight of the North Korean border. However, South Korean border-area residents expressed fear that North Korea would interpret the Christmas displays as "psychological warfare"—attempting to bring Christianity over the border into the Communist-run north—and feel compelled to retaliate militarily. As a result, the church group agreed not to display the lights.
The display was also put on hold last year as a "gesture of good will" while North Korea mourned the death of dictator Kim Jong Il.