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North Korea sends garbage balloons to South Korea again – Politics –

North Korea sends garbage balloons to South Korea again – Politics –

Paper and plastic waste was found in the bags
© APA/South Korean Ministry of Defense

According to South Korea, North Korea once again sent several balloons loaded with plastic bags filled with garbage across the heavily armed border between the two countries. The General Staff in the capital, Seoul, said that between Saturday and Sunday morning (local time), about 330 “garbage balloons” rose from North Korea. More than 80 of them fell on South Korean territory. Others may not have been able to achieve their goal.

The attached bags contained, among other things, waste paper and plastic. She added that preliminary investigations showed that it did not contain any dangerous materials. People are still being asked not to touch objects that have fallen.

North Korea's balloon operations are a response to similar activities by South Korean groups, which frequently send thousands of leaflets and other propaganda materials across the border using huge gas balloons. In the posts, they criticize the authoritarian leadership of the isolated neighboring country. The propaganda activities of South Korean activists are controversial in South Korea. Pyongyang usually reacts sensitively to foreign propaganda and accuses the government in Seoul of supporting these balloon operations carried out by private groups. Since the end of last May, North Korea has sent more than 1,000 balloons filled with waste, some with fertilizer, to South Korea.

Meanwhile, South Korea announced that it would resume propaganda broadcasts in the isolated neighboring country. The presidential office in Seoul announced Sunday, after a National Security Council meeting, that South Korea will once again install loudspeaker systems on the border and broadcast announcements toward North Korea. The North's sound systems were suspended in 2018 as part of the interim approach. North Korea has also issued such propaganda announcements. Mutual loudspeakers were considered a means of psychological warfare.

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In light of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government recently decided to suspend the 2018 military agreement with North Korea on border confidence-building measures. Among other things, this paved the way for the resumption of military exercises near the military demarcation line as well as possible propaganda broadcasts by loudspeakers towards the north.