North Korea Sends Garbage Balloons Again, Threatens Seoul With 'Retaliation'

The balloons of this latest batch contain paper and plastic waste

Screenshot 5 7 NORTH KOREA, balloons, Garbage

North Korea has again sent hundreds of garbage balloons to South Korea and warned today that it will retaliate if Seoul continues its "psychological warfare".

Relations between the two Koreas are going through one of their most difficult periods in years.

Pyongyang has in recent weeks sent hundreds of balloons filled with trash such as cigarette butts, toilet paper and even animal excrement to its southern neighbor in what it said was a response to the spread of propaganda, mostly via pamphlets or USB sticks, against the North's authorities. of Korea by South Korean activists.

According to the South Korean military, much of the garbage balloons sent up overnight encountered headwinds.

It is possible that the escalation will continue and "North Korea will do something beyond our imagination"

"Although they launched more than 310 balloons, many of them flew in the direction of North Korea," the South Korean military's general staff announced, adding that around fifty balloons have so far landed in South Korea.

The balloons of this latest batch contain paper and plastic waste, without any toxic material, the general staff clarified.

Kim's sister and key spokeswoman for the North Korean authorities, Kim Yo-yong, warned that South Korea would "suffer the bitter humiliation of incessantly piling up waste paper and this will be daily," in a statement issued early this morning.

Threat of further retaliation

Kim called the leafleting by South Korean activists "psychological warfare" and threatened Seoul with retaliation if its campaigns were not stopped, according to a statement cited by the North's official KCNA news agency.

If Seoul "proceeds simultaneously with leaflet distribution and loudspeaker broadcasts of challenges across the border, it will undoubtedly witness new retaliation" by North Korea, Kim noted.

"So far we have not seen any particular movement within the North Korean military," said an official of South Korea's general staff, judging that the level of threat expressed by Kim Yo-yong's remarks was different from what had previously existed.

But even then, "Seoul's military will adequately respond to any new response" from North Korea, he added.

At the same time, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported today, citing a statement from the general staff of the South Korean armed forces, that Pyongyang is moving to install loudspeakers for propaganda aimed at its neighbor South Korea.

"Flour"

Kim's sister's statements show that "North Korea is raising its voice to blame the current situation on South Korea and justify its provocations," said Kim Dong-yub, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies.

It is possible that the escalation will continue and "North Korea will do something beyond our imagination," he noted.

The North Koreans could do "something creative, like drop flour, causing absolute panic in the South (Korea), which will make them happy," he added, as such an attack could spark fears of a biological attack on South Korea.

The balloon launches on both sides of the border began when South Korean activists, including North Korean autocrats, sent dozens of balloons containing anti-Kim Jong Un propaganda and USB sticks with K-pop music to the North.

In response, Pyongyang sent up more than a thousand balloons, some containing garbage bags, which Seoul says violates an armistice agreement that ended hostilities in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

In 2018 during a lull in relations between the two countries, their leaders agreed to "completely cease hostile actions," including leafleting and propaganda broadcasts.

South Korea's parliament tried to block the activists' action by passing a law in 2020 punishing the sending of leaflets to North Korea, but the activists did not stop and the law was struck down by the Constitutional Court last year on the grounds that it unreasonably restricted freedom of expression.

The full suspension of the 2018 accord allows Seoul to resume live-fire drills and launch propaganda campaigns against North Korean authorities through loudspeakers along the border.

"It is very likely that the repeated (broadcasting) of messages from loudspeakers will lead to an armed conflict" and "North Korea will resume firing into the Yellow Sea or fire on balloons if the South sends again," Cheong Seong-chang ruled. , director of Korean Peninsula strategy at the Sejong Institute.