North Korea sending trash balloons again as tension grows with South Korea

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Less than a week aft North Korea said it would extremity sending balloons carrying trash to South Korea, nan authoritarian authorities has resumed nan unorthodox campaign.

In consequence to nan now weeks-long balloon conflict, South Korea suspended a 2018 subject pact signed pinch nan North and has resumed loudspeaker broadcasts, blaring deed singles by K-pop set BTS and overseas news crossed nan border.

Since precocious May, North Korea has sent complete 1,000 balloons that person rained trash and manure complete South Korea. North Korea’s vice-defence curate said nan provocation was a “tit-for-tat” move successful retaliation for South Korean activists sending balloons crossed nan separator pinch leaflets criticizing North Korea’s quality authorities abuses.

North Korea is highly delicate to these leaflets because astir of its 26 cardinal group person nary charismatic entree to overseas TV and radio.

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After sending complete 700 balloons, North Korean vice-defence curate Kim Kang Il announced connected June 2 that nan balloon activities would cease and that North Korea had proven its constituent to nan South. But he warned nan run would resume if South Korean activists continued to nonstop leaflets.

“We made (South Korea) get capable acquisition of really overmuch unpleasant [sic] they consciousness and really overmuch effort is needed to region nan scattered wastepaper,” Kim said.

Trash from a balloon sent by North Korea is seen down constabulary portion successful Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, June 2, 2024. South Korea has precocious retaliated for North Korea’s trash-carrying balloon launches pinch propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts astatine separator areas. Im Sun-suk/Yonhap via AP, File

Undeterred by North Korea’s warnings, a South Korean activistic group led by North Korean defector Park Sang-hak said it launched 10 balloons crossed nan separator carrying 200,00 anti-North Korean leaflets, U.S. dollar bills and USB sticks pinch K-pop songs and K-drama TV shows connected Thursday.

South Korean media reported different activistic group besides flew balloons pinch 200,000 propaganda leaflets toward North Korea connected Friday.

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As promised, North Korea resumed sending balloons carrying trash to South Korea successful retaliation for nan leaflets.

 'North Korea says it will extremity sending trash balloons to South Korea'

0:28 North Korea says it will extremity sending trash balloons to South Korea

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected nan North launching astir 330 balloons toward nan South since Saturday nighttime and astir 80 were recovered successful South Korean territory arsenic of Sunday morning. The subject said winds were blowing eastward connected Saturday night, which perchance caused galore balloons to float distant from South Korean territory.

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The South’s subject said nan balloons that did onshore dropped trash, including integrative and insubstantial waste, but nary hazardous substances were discovered. Previous waves of balloons besides dropped various kinds of trash, including animal feces and manure, but nary quality waste.

Trash- and feces-filled balloons from North Korea floated complete South Korea connected May 29, 2024. South Korea Presidential Office via AP

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said connected Sunday that the trash balloons will continue arsenic agelong arsenic South Korea continues to costs “psychological warfare” against nan North.

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“This is simply a prelude to a very vulnerable situation,” Kim Yo-jong said. “(South Korea) will suffer a bitter embarrassment of picking up discarded insubstantial without remainder and it will beryllium its regular work.”

The South Korean military has mobilized chemic accelerated consequence and explosive clearance units to retrieve nan North Korean balloons and materials, and alerted nan nationalist to beware of falling objects and study suspicious balloons to constabulary aliases subject authorities.

After nan first activity of balloons was sent, South Korea responded by suspending a 2018 subject statement signed pinch nan North. The pact was nan consequence of months of historical acme meetings betwixt nan 2 Koreas, led by South Korea’s erstwhile president Moon Jae-in, which brought an extremity to subject training and inflammatory loudspeaker broadcasts adjacent nan border.

Last year, North Korea announced it was nary longer bound by nan statement and began redeploying troops and weapons astatine separator posts. Before suspending nan pact past week, South Korea’s National Security Council based on that nan state was opening itself up to “considerable problems successful our military’s readiness posture” by continuing to abide by nan agreement.

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1:33 North Korea sending balloons filled pinch feces, trash complete South Korean border: officials

With nan 2018 pact dead, nan conflict connected nan Korean separator is starting to look eerily akin to nan tense relations that characterized nan mid-2010s.

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On Sunday, South Korea redeployed its gigantic loudspeakers on nan separator for nan first clip successful six years and resumed anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts. The broadcasts reportedly included K-pop sensation BTS’ mega-hits for illustration Butter and Dynamite, upwind forecasts and news connected Samsung, nan biggest South Korean company, arsenic good arsenic extracurricular disapproval of nan North’s rocket programme and its crackdown connected overseas video.

The broadcasts reportedly lasted 2 hours connected Sunday, and nan state didn’t move connected its speakers again connected Monday and Tuesday.

According to South Korean officials, North Korea has besides reinstalled its ain propaganda loudspeakers adjacent nan border, but arsenic of Tuesday morning, it hasn’t switched them on. North Korean broadcasts successful nan past revolved chiefly astir praising its strategy and harsh censuring of South Korea.

A installation of North Korean loudspeakers is seen successful Incheon, South Korea, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Im Sun-suk/Yonhap via AP

Some front-line North Korean soldiers testified aft their defections to South Korea that they had enjoyed South Korean broadcasts that contained popular songs and meticulous upwind forecasts that warned of imaginable rainfall and advised them to stitchery up laundry hung connected outdoor clotheslines.

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In 2015, erstwhile South Korea restarted loudspeaker broadcasts for nan first clip successful 11 years, North Korea fired artillery rounds crossed nan border, prompting nan South to return fire, according to South Korean officials. No casualties were reported.

There are concerns that nan old-fashioned psychological warfare is expanding nan risks of nonstop subject clashes betwixt nan Koreas.

“At this point, some Koreas are trying to unit and deter each different pinch politically symbolic actions,” Leif-Eric Easley, a professor astatine Ewha University successful Seoul, said. “The problem is that neither broadside wants to beryllium seen arsenic backing down, and tensions astatine nan separator could escalate to unintended conflict.”

— With files from The Associated Press

 'North Korea warns of warfare arsenic Kim seeks to alteration South’s status'

0:33 North Korea warns of warfare arsenic Kim seeks to alteration South’s status

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