S Korea to keep Christmas tree lit near DPRK till January

15:51, December 24, 2010      

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South Korea has decided to keep a massive Christmas tree lit near the border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) until early January, two weeks longer than previously planned, local media reported citing the defense ministry sources.

Officials originally planned to turn off the light bulbs decorating the giant Christmas tree on top of the Aegibong peak in the South Korean city of Gimpo on Sunday, but religious figures called for prolonging the period, a defense ministry spokesman said.

The decision raised concerns that the tree, easily visible in some parts of the DPRK, could be a potential target of attack for being a perceived anti-Pyongyang propaganda tool.

The annual ritual of lighting up the symbolic tree was suspended in 2003 as the two Koreas agreed to stop propaganda war amid a conciliatory mood.

The tradition revived after the sinking of a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 sailors in March and deadly shelling of a South Korean island in November near the disputed western maritime border between the two Koreas.

Source: Xinhua

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