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South Korea pulls down border Christmas tree that N. Korea views as propaganda warfare

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's Defense Ministry says it has pulled down a 43-year-old frontline Christmas tower that North Korea viewed as propaganda warfare.

PHOTO: This Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 photo shows a giant steel Christmas tree lit up at the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea. South Korean military officials said they pulled down the tree near the country’s heavily-armed border with North Korea at a time when the countries are pursuing better ties after months of animosity. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
This Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 photo shows a giant steel Christmas tree lit up at the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea. South Korean military officials said they pulled down the tree near the country’s heavily-armed border with North Korea at a time when the countries are pursuing better ties after months of animosity. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A ministry official says the massive steel tower was demolished last week because it was seen as dangerous in recent safety checks. He spoke on condition of anonymity citing office rules.

Local city officials say they will build a park on the site where the tower stood. It sat on a peak high enough for North Koreans living in border towns to see it.

South Korea stopped the lightening of the tower in 2004 as relations with North Korea warmed during an era of reconciliation. But South Korea allowed Christian groups to light the tower in 2010 and 2012 as tensions spiked.

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