North Korea threatens to reconsider dialogue with South over activists' propaganda push

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) visits the Kangdong Precision Machine Plant in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on Jan16, 2015. North Korea threatened to reconsider proposals for dia
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) visits the Kangdong Precision Machine Plant in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on Jan16, 2015. North Korea threatened to reconsider proposals for dialogue with South Korea. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea threatened Wednesday to reconsider proposals for dialogue with South Korea, condemning this week's propaganda balloon launch by US and South Korean activists as an "intolerable" provocation.

The threat came two days after North Korean defectors led by Park Sang Hak teamed up with activists from the US-based Human Rights Foundation to launch some 100,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets over the border by balloon.

The launch was an "intolerable provocation" hurting the dignity of North Korea's leadership, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement on the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

It accused the United States of instigating the exercise and warned South Korea it may face "destruction" if it continues to overlook the balloon launches by "human scum".

"We cannot but think over whether dialogue is necessary with South Korea, which could not even control a grave situation developing on its soil while reading the face of a US tricky group," the committee said.

Pyongyang has long condemned the ballon launches and in recent months has stepped up its demands for Seoul to ban them.

Seoul insists the activists have a democratic right to send the leaflets, but has appealed for restraint to avoid overly provoking the North.

Undeterred by North Korea's repeated threats, Park vowed Tuesday to sneak copies of the Hollywood comedy "The Interview" into North Korea if Pyongyang rejects Seoul's offer of dialogue.

The North has already warned that he would "pay for his crimes in blood" if copies of the movie - about a fictional CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un - made it across the border.

The US foundation, which supports Park's group, said it intended to float 100,000 copies of the movie into the North this year.

In order to give time for the response, however, Park said he would suspend any further balloon launches until after the Lunar New Year on February 19.

In a January 1 message North Korean leader Kim Jong Un proposed the "highest-level" talks with the South.

Seoul has separately suggested holding high-level talks with the North with a view to organising a reunion around the Chinese New Year for families divided by the 1950-53 Korean war.

In October last year, North Korean border guards attempted to shoot down some balloons, triggering a brief exchange of heavy machine gun fire between the two sides.