North Korea Sends Balloons with Garbage and Poop to South Korea

Source: SAYS

North Korea sent hundreds of balloons filled with trash and excrement across the heavily fortified border to South Korea on Wednesday, 29 May.

Calling them “gifts of sincerity,” North Korea’s action provoked an angry response from Seoul, which deemed the act as base and dangerous.

Photographs released by the South Korean military showed inflated balloons with plastic bags attached. Other images revealed trash scattered around collapsed balloons, with the word “excrement” written on one of the bags.

By Wednesday afternoon, more than 260 balloons had been detected, most of them landing on the ground carrying animal feces and rubbish. The South Korean military condemned the act as “base and dangerous.”

North Korea claimed the balloons were in retaliation for an ongoing propaganda campaign by North Korean defectors and activists in South Korea, who regularly send inflatables with anti-Pyongyang leaflets, along with food, medicine, money, and USB sticks loaded with K-pop music videos and dramas across the border.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a high-ranking official, criticized Seoul as “shameful, brazen” for condemning the balloons while defending its citizens’ freedom of expression. She described the North’s balloons as “gifts of sincerity” for South Koreans who “cry for freedom of expression,” and pledged to send many more than South Korea had sent into the North.

An official at Seoul’s presidential office suggested that the North might be trying to “test” the South’s reaction but vowed to respond calmly.

Psychological Warfare

“By sending rubbish and various objects in balloons, they seem to want to see how our people would react and whether our government is indeed disrupted,” the official told reporters, adding that this act was part of psychological warfare and small-scale threats.

The South Korean military’s explosives ordnance unit and chemical and biological warfare response team were deployed to inspect and collect the objects, and an alert was issued advising residents to keep away and report any sightings to authorities.

On Sunday, North Korea’s vice defense minister condemned balloons sent by South Korean activists as “dirty things” and a “dangerous provocation,” warning that “mounds of waste paper and filth” would be sent to the South in response.

Additionally, North Korea attempted to jam GPS signals in South Korea early Wednesday morning, though no damage was reported, according to the Donga Ilbo newspaper, citing unnamed government sources. Seoul’s defense ministry had no immediate comment on the report.

A previous South Korean government attempted to block such campaigns, especially after a 2014 incident when the North tried to shoot down balloons, causing concerns among residents near the border. A ban on balloon launches introduced in 2021 was later ruled unconstitutional by a top court, which said it violated freedom of speech.

The two Koreas, with their large militaries, face off across the military border, and North Korea routinely threatens to annihilate its neighbor. Peter Ward, a research fellow at the Sejong Institute, noted that sending balloons is less risky than overt military action.

“These kinds of grey zone tactics are more difficult to counter and hold less risk of uncontrollable military escalation, even if they’re horrid for the civilians who are ultimately targeted,” he said.

Source : SAYS

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