South Korea has found a novel and seasonal way of taunting its northern neighbours – by constructing a 30 foot fake Christmas tree which they plan to illuminate on December 23. Pyongyang has warned that doing so would be considered incitement to war, and threatened to light it up themselves by destroying it with artillery fire.

The tree will be placed on Aegibong, a hill which can be seen for many miles within North Korea, by the South Korean Christian Council of Korea (CCK), replacing a 65 foot derelict tower that had stood at the site since 1971. It was pulled down earlier this year thanks to its poor state of repair, the Telegraph has reported.

Seoul gave permission for the construction of the new tree on the grounds of religious freedom. The CCK have told local news agency Yonhap that the tree is a symbol of their hopes for peace on the Korean peninsula. It is due to be dismantled by them on 6 January.

However, the North Korean Council of Religionists is less than impressed. It has told state news agency KCNA that construction of the tree is a “criminal” act, and an incitement to war, accusing the CCK of using religion to stir up military conflict. It added that it holds the CCK responsible for any action that may come about if they insist on illuminating it as planned.

Pyongyang declared the tree a “provocative display of psychological warfare,” and threatened to destroy it using artillery.

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