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Seoul says Pyongyang sending rubbish-filled balloons south again

In World
June 09, 2024

North Korea has once again sent numerous balloons with plastic bags full of rubbish across the heavily militarized border between the two countries, South Korea said.

Between Saturday and Sunday morning, around 330 “rubbish balloons” were released from North Korea, according to the General Staff in the capital Seoul.

More than 80 of them had landed on South Korean territory. The rest likely did not reach their target. The trash consisted of paper and plastic, among other items.

Initial investigations had shown that they did not contain any dangerous substances. Nevertheless, people were urged not to touch the landed objects.

North Korea’s balloon actions are a reaction to similar activities by South Korean groups, which repeatedly send thousands of leaflets and other propaganda material across the border in huge gas balloons.

In the leaflets, they criticize the authoritarian leadership of the closed-off neighbouring country. The propaganda activities of the South Korean activists are considered controversial in South Korea.

According to reports in South Korean media, two different groups undertook such leaflet campaigns on Thursday and Friday.

Pyongyang generally reacts sensitively to propaganda from outside and accuses the government in Seoul of supporting such balloon campaigns by private groups.

North Korea has sent more than 1,000 balloons filled with waste products and in some cases slurry to South Korea since the end of May.

Given the growing tensions on the Korean peninsula, South Korea’s government recently decided to suspend a 2018 military agreement with North Korea on confidence-building measures at the border.

This paved the way for the resumption of military exercises near the military demarcation line and possible propaganda broadcasts with loudspeakers in the direction of the North.

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