South Korea is bracing for a possible backlash to what some might find a fairly harmless attempt at spreading holiday cheer, after erecting a stylized Christmas tree near the demilitarized zone that separates the country from North Korea, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The giant 100-foot-tall tree, which reportedly can be seen from the North Korean city of Kaesong, had been a yuletide tradition until 2004, when both countries agreed to halt cross-border propaganda. According to BusinessWeek, North Korea demanded the display be dismantled after dismissing the tree as an effort to spread religion.
On hand for Tuesday's lighting ceremony at a military-controlled hill called Aegibong were the Seoul-based Yeouido Full Gospel Church, which had planned a program of traditional carols. But while the South may be challenging the North's omnipresent threats with holiday cheer, security remains a huge concern. "Marines are maintaining the highest level of alertness around the hill," a defence ministry spokesman was quoted by the AFP as saying.
See photos of the controversial Christmas tree below: