June 15, 2024

Columbus Post

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Debris balloons from North Korea: That’s what’s behind it – News

Debris balloons from North Korea: That’s what’s behind it – News

The North tempts the South with a strange act. Balloons also flew in the opposite direction.

It happened: According to the South Korean military, North Korea on Wednesday afternoon (local time) used balloons to send large amounts of garbage and feces into South Korea across the heavily fortified border. A total of 260 balloons were found.

Reactions: Over the weekend, Pyongyang threatened to send “heaps of waste paper and dirt” into border areas. South Korea will consider “how much effort it takes to remove everything,” according to a statement from the deputy defense minister. These measures are a response to the mailing of leaflets and rubbish from South Korea. Following the move, Seoul demanded an “immediate cessation of these inhumane and deplorable acts”.

History: For years, organizations of North Korean refugees in South Korea have campaigned by sending large gas balloons with leaflets across the border. Sometimes the balloons have USB sticks with South Korean dramas or medicine hanging on them. There have also been calls for the overthrow of the leadership in Pyongyang. The move has sparked controversy in South Korea. In 2021, a law came into effect banning the sending of leaflets and other materials across the military demarcation line between the two countries. The Constitutional Court lifted the ban last year.

Tight Relationship: The two states have been hostile to each other since the war on the Korean Peninsula between 1950 and 1953. After an interim phase of subsidence on the Korean Peninsula, it has recently regained significant explosiveness. Since early 2022, North Korea has been increasingly testing ballistic missiles and other weapons. The rhetoric against the South Korean and US governments, which have expanded military cooperation, has also intensified.

Latest Expansion: On Monday, North Korea failed to launch another spy satellite. “It was a bit embarrassing for North Korea,” ARD reporter Kathryn Erdmann tells SRF. A Russian delegation may also have been on site. Pyongyang is to receive Moscow’s support for spy satellites in return for weapons used in Ukraine. According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired about ten missiles into the open sea on Thursday night (Swiss time).

What is behind the balloon campaign? “You don’t know when they will do something with North Korea. But one thing is clear: they don’t want to be forgotten,” says ARD reporter Erdmann. The regime’s aim is to make it clear to the world and South Korea that it still poses a danger. “The move seems harmless,” says Erdmann, but the North’s concern that its own citizens will be informed “in the future will be confirmed.”

Heaps of garbage on the street at night.


South Korean authorities have announced that they are investigating the found balloons and their contents. (Image: An exploded balloon and its contents on a street in Seoul on May 29, 2024)


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