The Christian Council of Korea is set to erect a nine meter giant Christmas tree three kilometres from the border and near a North Korean town.
Christian group to erect giant Christmas tree near North Korean border
Despite the controversies and threats from North Korea that greeted a similar structure, a Christian group from South Korea is set to erect a giant Christmas tree near a North Korean town.
The conservative South Korean Christian organization received permission from the Defense Ministry to construct a new Christmas tree shaped tower near the North Korean border. A giant cross is to be placed on top of the tree and illuminated with decorative lights during the Christmas season, from Tuesday, December 23 to Tuesday, January 6.
On Tuesday, December 2, South Korean Defense Ministry Spokesman, Kim Min-seok, announced that the project will proceed and revealed that the Ministry of Defense has approved the request, considering the purpose of the lighting ceremony and the fact that freedom of religious activities is guaranteed.
The giant Christmas tree will replace a tower that was dismantled in October due to safety concerns after North Korea had complained that it was an act of propaganda warfare and warned against future attempt to rebuild the tower.
Traditionally, religion in North Korea primarily consists of Buddhism, Confucianism and Korean shamanism. Since the arrival of Europeans in the 18th century, there is a Christian minority but religious activities in the country are restricted to officially recognized groups -which excludes Christianianity- linked to the government. Authorities in the country have jailed missionaries for trying to evangelise or promote Christianlity.
South Korea has cited freedom of speech and religion to justify allowing activists to send balloons carrying religious and political messages into the North. A recent launch provoked a military exchange of gunfire at the border and angered North Korean leaders to cancel high-level talks aimed at easing military tensions.
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