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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

North Korea sends 310 more trash-filled balloons to South as tensions further inflate

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The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Monday that North Korea has sent more than 310 filth-filled balloons over the inter-Korean border between Sunday night and Monday morning.

The JCS reported that the balloons contained trash such as plastic and waste paper. Hazardous substances have not been detected during the analysis.

Authorities informed reporters of the fourth balloon launch on Sunday at around 9:40 p.m.

Before the launch on Sunday evening, North Korea also flew some 330 balloons to the South between Saturday night and early Sunday morning in its third balloon launch after Seoul-based human rights advocacy groups sent anti-regime leaflets to the North on Friday.
A balloon, suspected to be sent from North Korea, in Gangwon on Monday morning. [YONHAP]

Since last month, more than 1,600 balloons have arrived in South Korea in four batches of balloon launches.

In response to the North’s balloon launches, the South Korean military resumed loudspeaker broadcasts on Sunday to counter balloon intrusions. Propaganda broadcasts denouncing the North and its leader are aired toward the North through the speakers.

Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, said Sunday that Seoul will “undoubtedly witness the new counteraction” from Pyongyang, adding that provocations such as resuming loudspeaker broadcasts in border areas have “changed the situation.”

In a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, she “sternly warned” the South to halt the loudspeaker broadcasting, calling it a “dangerous act bringing further confrontation.”

While blaming Seoul, Kim defended the North’s balloon launch and claimed that there was no “political” aggression in sending over waste paper to the South.

She said the North “scattered 7.5 tons of waste paper with more than 1,400 balloons” to the South from Saturday to Sunday evening.

She also said the South Koreans would “suffer the bitter embarrassment of picking up waste paper without rest as daily work” if Seoul continues to send anti-regime materials and operate the loudspeakers.

BY LEE SOO-JUNG [lee.soojung1@joongang.co.kr]