North Korea sends trash balloons again to South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea resumed sending trash-carrying balloons over the border into South Korea on Sunday. This comes a week after the country vowed it would continue if South Korea flew anti-North Korea flyers.

After the South Korean military announced late Saturday that the North had launched them again, dozens of balloons with garbage attached were found in Seoul overnight and early Sunday morning.

The South Korean military stated on Sunday that it took the balloons very seriously and was ready to respond if necessary. It did not specify what action it would take.

South Korea warned that it would take “unacceptable” measures to punish the North for the trash balloons. This could include loud propaganda broadcasts on huge loudspeakers placed at the border aimed at the North.

North Korea’s government said that the balloons were launched in response to anti-North leaflets being flown in South Korea as part of an anti-North propaganda campaign. They began launching hundreds of them in late May, carrying garbage and manure.

On June 2, the company announced that it would temporarily stop sending balloons, as 15 tons of garbage was likely enough to send the message about how “unpleasant it is”. It promised to resume sending balloons if the South again sent leaflets by sending a hundred times more.

South Korean activists ignored the warning, and sent more balloons with leaflets critical of Kim Jong Un and USB sticks with K-pop videos, dramas and U.S. dollars.

North Korea’s reaction to the loudspeaker and leaflet campaigns has been acrimonious, with some instances of firing weapons on the balloons or speakers.

Experts said that the reaction is an indication Pyongyang views the propaganda as a major threat to its control of the public.

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