North Korean propaganda leaflets

North Korean Propaganda Leaflets Found in Seoul School Yard

ké radar

With US President Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea slated for next week (Nov. 7-8), much attention is being paid to how he will address North Korea’s nuclear threat and missile program. But it seems that not everyone is impressed by Trump’s impending visit – especially North Korea.

On Tuesday, senior high school student Minkyu Kwak posted online pictures reportedly showing anti-Trump propaganda leaflets scattered across his school in Seoul’s Seongdong District. Kwak told Korea Exposé that two dozen leaflets were spread “everywhere” including in “bushes, the backyard of the school’s main building, and in the alley by the school cafeteria.” He said he had found two types, one depicting Donald Trump, the other South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

North Korean propaganda leaflets
(Source: Minkyu Kwak)

The front of one leaflet says, “Subdue with fire at all costs. Trump is an old beast-lunatic [dotard].”

North Korean propaganda leaflets
(Source: Minkyu Kwak)

On the back, there’s a statement ostensibly by Kim Jong-un: 

“As a man representing the DPRK and on behalf of the dignity and honor of my nation, my people and everything I have, I will make the US commander-in-chief pay dearly for wanting to annihilate our republic.

This is not a rhetorical expression of the sort Trump enjoys.

Trump will face consequences beyond his imagination.

I will subdue the old beast-lunatic with fire at all costs.

Kim Jong Un, Sept. 21, 2017.”

North Korean propaganda leaflets
(Source: Minkyu Kwak)

Another leaflet refers to South Korean president Moon Jae-in as “Trump’s lap dog,” and states: “Before Inauguration: Promises to rid Korea of accumulated evils and visit Pyongyang first, ‘no’ to U.S. After inauguration: Goes to Washington first, blindly says ‘yes’ to U.S. [for] deployment of THAAD. The Yankees’ mongrel dog has betrayed the spirit of the candlelight protests.”

It is not uncommon for North Korea to send propaganda leaflets across the border via balloons, which at times can even reach Seoul. But due to the placement of the leaflets, Kwak is unsure how they appeared on the grounds of his high school. “Someone did it on purpose,” he speculated. “It was too clean and placed too artificially. If the bills were dropped by balloon or something, some of them would have been torn or creased. But none of them were in bad condition, and they were placed so artificially.”

One leaflet, which depicts Trump’s head being crushed by a missile, reads “No matter what, let there be a reign of fire! Trump is an old beast-lunatic.” Interestingly, the text on the leaflet is an extract from a statement by Kim Jong Un that made world headlines last month calling the US president a “dotard” (the actual wording in Korean means old beast-lunatic).

The other shows the two leaders, naked, with President Moon seen licking Trump’s feet clean, and calls him Trump’s lapdog. The reverse side of this flyer criticizes “Yankees’ mongrel dog” Moon for betraying the spirit of the candlelight protests and visiting Washington first instead of Pyongyang.

Korea Exposé could not independently verify the authenticity of the leaflets, but Seoul resident Jacco Zwetsloot, who has tracked North Korean propaganda leaflets since 1998, thinks that based on the above photographs, “they’re more likely real than not.” Asked about how they arrived in Seoul, Zwetsloot said he believed balloons were indeed the key. “While redistribution within South Korea is possible, the risks are too great and rewards too small to have agents carry them in.” He continued, “They [North Korea] have had 70 years to study wind patterns; they’ve got it down to a fine art.”

With one week to go before President Trump lands in South Korea, all eyes will be on North Korea for further signs of disapproval.


Cover image: Propaganda flyers allegedly from North Korea. (Source: Minkyu Kwak)

Raphael is a freelance journalist and fixer. He has an MA in Korean Studies from Korea University, and worked at Edelman Korea for three years representing some of South Korea's biggest conglomerates.