North Korea Sends Garbage Balloons, Tensions In South Korea

The South Korean government has reported a significant incident involving massive balloons filled with garbage, attributing the action to North Korea… know more

In Gyeongsang, South Korea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a report detailing North Korea’s recent deployment of massive balloons filled with ‘garbage,’ which sparked concerns about potential harm to citizens and infrastructure. According to the Korean media, around 260 balloons from North Korea were detected, falling across various locations in South Korea, including border areas, Seoul, and even the southeastern province of South Gyeongsang.

Images shared by the JC staff showcased two large balloons carrying plastic bags, accompanied by scattered items such as sheets of paper, and plastic fragments, which appeared to be ‘dirt’ strewn across pavements and roads. While no damage had been reported at the time, a JCS officer mentioned that the balloons appeared to contain various types of garbage, including plastic bottles, batteries, shoe parts, and even manure.

The JCS stressed that government agencies were actively analyzing the balloons, which were found to contain “filth and garbage,” while military collaboration with the United Nations Command is still underway. Condemning North Korea’s actions as a violation of international law and a severe threat to the safety of South Korean citizens, the JCS issued a stern warning, asserting that all responsibility for the North Korean balloons lay solely with North Korea. Furthermore, they urged North Korea to immediately cease such inhumane and low-level actions.

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Speculation surrounding North Korea’s motive centred on retaliation against South Korean activists who frequently sent goods, including propaganda leaflets, food, medicine, radios, and USB sticks containing South Korean news and television dramas, to North Korea. Despite the South Korean government banning such operations in 2020, activists in the South, including defectors from North Korea, persisted in transmitting these materials via balloons, drones, and floating bottles along the cross-border river.

Recent statements from North Korean state media quoted Kim Kang Il, North Korea’s Vice Minister of National Defense, condemning the scattering of leaflets by balloons as a dangerous provocation with potential military implications. These developments significantly heightened tensions between the two Koreas, underscoring the fragile nature of their relationship.

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