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NK steps up propaganda to try to sway upcoming S. Korean polls

North Korea has stepped up propaganda criticizing South Korea's conservative ruling party and its leader Park Geun-hye in what seems its latest attempt to sway upcoming South Korean polls.

In recent weeks, the North's state media have repeatedly called on South Koreans to vote against the conservative party, which has pursued a hard-line policy toward the North.

South Koreans are set to elect 300 lawmakers next Wednesday. Park is running as a proportional representation candidate for the ruling Saenuri Party. She is also widely seen as the party's leading presidential hopeful for the December vote.

On Friday, a North Korean propaganda committee lashed out at Park over her recent comments critical of the North's planned rocket launch, and her alleged confrontational stance toward the North.

South Koreans "must not be deceived by Park Geun-hye and her clique, and judge the group of conservative traitors through the elections," the committee said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

The North has said it would launch a rocket sometime between April 12 and 16 to put an earth observation satellite into orbit, a move widely seen as a pretext to disguise a banned test of its ballistic missile technology.

Park has condemned the upcoming launch as a challenge to global peace and warned it would further isolate the communist country.

The committee also accused Park of denying a declaration reached at a landmark inter-Korean summit in 2000, claiming she asked for help during her trip to Pyongyang in 2002. It did not elaborate on what kind of assistance she allegedly sought.

On that trip, Park met then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the late father of current leader Kim Jong-un.

The inter-Korean declaration called for improved ties and a set of cross-border economic projects. Many of the summit deals have been in limbo since 2008, when conservative President Lee Myung-bak took power in Seoul with a hard-line policy toward Pyongyang.

The North's statement also launched scathing personal attacks on Park, accusing her of being a "disgusting political prostitute," referring to her alleged political whims.

On Thursday, Minju Joson, the North's Cabinet newspaper, even described Park as Juda, a biblical figure who betrayed Jesus, saying she has an "unlimited greed for power."

The North Korean influence has often swayed the results of polls in South Korea. South Koreans are sensitive to tension with North Korea and tend to rally around conservatives at such times.

South Korean officials and analysts believe voters will not be swayed by the North's propaganda campaign.

"North Korea's political maneuvers won't work in the general elections as voters care about local issues over political and ideological ones," said Yoo Dong-ryul, a senior research officer of the Police Science Institute, which monitors North Korean propaganda.

Source: koreatimes
Tags: north korea

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