Home News North Korea’s latest offensive: Dumping aerial trash into South Korea

North Korea’s latest offensive: Dumping aerial trash into South Korea

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North Korea has resumed an unusual practice to express its anger at South Korea: dumping garbage from the air across the world’s most heavily guarded border.

South Korea’s military said 260 balloons were spotted floating over the Demilitarized Zone, a buffer zone between North and South Korea, between Tuesday night and Wednesday. Soon after, residents across South Korea, including the capital Seoul, reported seeing plastic bags falling from the sky.

Authorities sent a chemical and biological terrorism response team and a bomb disposal squad to check the contents of the balloon. But they found only trash, such as cigarette butts, plastic water bottles, waste paper and shoes, and what looked like compost. The South Korean military said the trash was released by a timer when the balloon reached South Korean airspace.

In recent years, North Korea has A belligerent military stanceThis week, North Korea launched an unusual offensive, prompting South Korea to send mobile phone alerts to residents living near the inter-Korean border, asking them not to engage in outdoor activities and to be alert for unidentified objects falling from the sky. The alert message contained an automatically generated English phrase “Preliminary warning of air raid,” which caused some confusion. The government said it would fix the glitch.

“Such actions by North Korea are a clear violation of international law and a serious threat to the safety of our people,” South Korea’s military said in a statement on Wednesday. “We issue a stern warning to North Korea to stop such anti-humanitarian dirty actions.”

Days before the North Korean balloons arrived in South Korea, Pyongyang accused defectors living in South Korea of ​​”scattering leaflets and various filthy things” in its border areas and vowed to “Tit for tat

“A large amount of waste paper and garbage will soon be scattered across the South Korean border area and inland areas. This will directly show how much effort is required to remove this garbage,” Kim Kang-il, North Korea’s vice defense minister, said in a statement on Saturday.

During the Cold War that followed the 1950-53 Korean War, the two countries launched Intense psychological warfareBroadcast propaganda to each other and send millions of flyer Cross the border.

Such actions ebb and flow depending on the political mood on the Korean peninsula. The two Koreas agreed to ease their propaganda confrontation after a landmark 2000 summit to promote reconciliation, an agreement they reaffirmed in 2018 when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met.

but North Korean defectors Conservative activists in South Korea continue to send balloons to North Korea carrying miniature Bibles, U.S. dollar bills, computer USBs containing South Korean soap operas and leaflets calling Kim Jong Un and his father and grandfather, the previous rulers of North Korea, “pigs,” “vampires” and “perverts.”

Supporters say the balloons help dismantle North Korea’s information blockade and cult of personality.

North Korea was so angry that its military Being fired Anti-aircraft guns shot down northbound plastic balloons. Retaliation By releasing balloons filled with cigarette butts and other trash, as well as leaflets calling then-South Korean leader Park Geun-hye an “evil witch.” A few years later, claim The balloons from the south carried the coronavirus.

In 2021, South Korea enacted a law banning the distribution of propaganda leaflets to North Korea. explain Not only did the balloons anger North Korea, they also brought trash to South Korea, as some balloons never made it across the border at all.

But last year, South Korea’s Constitutional Court overturned the law, saying it violated the constitution and infringed on free speech.

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