Leaflets from the Sky

The UN Commission of Inquiry’s up-close-and-personal warning to Kim Jong-un may have been bold, but it was hardly unprecedented. In October 1950, US/UN field commander Douglas MacArthur dumped leaflets all over the skies of Korea, both North and South. They warned Kim Il-song specifically that the end was near, and that he, and any relevant North Korean commanders, would be held responsible for international war crimes.

MacArthur utilized a leaflet from above, but what tools and means do Michael Kirby and UN Commission of Inquiry have for communicating their message to the Chinese people, and the North Koreans beyond? What does this bundle of white papers in a foreign script represent, after all? Whether or not China and North Korea are induced to come out of the foxhole – together or separately – and investigate just what this document is all about is an important question we need to continue to ask as the COI report and its abundant testimonies continues to ripple through the news cycle.

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