War on Christmas, Korean Style

Forget being outraged if the cashier at the local Wally World said “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” for a real Christmas smack-down, you have to head to Asia.

Via the BBC:  N Korea furious at South’s Christmas lights plan

North Korea has warned South Korea of "unexpected consequences" if it lights up a Christmas tree-shaped tower near their tense border.

The North’s state-run Uriminjokkiri website said it would amount to a form of "psychological warfare".

Seoul’s annual tradition of lighting up a Christmas tree tower was suspended in 2003 following a warming of ties.

However, the South lit a tower last year as relations deteriorated between the neighbours.

The Associated Press quotes a defence ministry official as saying the South has agreed to allow Christian groups to light a further two towers this year.

While the North Koreans claim that the trees are an attempt to spread Christianity, I think they are upset because it demonstrates that the South Koreans have enough electricity that they can afford to waste it on seasonal decorations (I am only being half flippant with this assertion).

All of this reminds me of satellite images taken of Korean peninsula taken at night:


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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OldSouth says:

    In that case, let’s put up a hundred Christmas trees, complete with flashing ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings along the DMZ.

    If Christmas trees scare the thugs in charge of the North, they’re in trouble deep…

  2. Any news from the outside scares the Kim regime, OldSouth. That’s why the 3000 or so NoKo citizens who were in Libya during the recent Civil War have been barred from ever returning home. Don’t want to give the populace any ideas about over throwing a dictatorship, after all.