North Korea sends more than 600 new balloons filled with garbage to South Korea

North Korea sends more than 600 new balloons filled with garbage to South Korea

The South Korean military said on Sunday, June 2, that new balloons filled with waste had crossed the border. More than 200 balloons have already been launched during the week.

North Korea sent about 600 new balloons filled with garbage, ranging from cigarette butts to plastic, across the border, which were collected upon landing, the South Korean military announced on Sunday (June 2).

Since the campaign began on Tuesday, about 900 balloons have been launched, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, which initially reported about 260 balloons filled with waste, including used batteries, cigarette butts and animal feces.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that “North Korea once again began launching balloons filled with garbage toward South Korea” since 8 p.m. (11:00 GMT) on Saturday evening.

“About 600 balloons have been identified, with 20 to 50 balloons per hour moving through the air” on Sunday around 10 a.m., he said.

Seoul condemns the “low-level” action.

The balloons landed in South Korea's northern provinces, including the capital, Seoul, and the neighboring Gyeonggi region, which together contain nearly half of the South's population.

Seoul condemned this action on Wednesday, describing it as “low-level”, and the South Korean Unification Ministry warned on Friday of taking countermeasures if Pyongyang does not stop these “irrational” provocations.

The General Staff said on Sunday that the balloons this time contained “waste such as cigarette butts, pieces of paper, pieces of cloth and plastic,” noting that “no dangerous material was found.”

He added: “Our military forces are conducting surveillance and reconnaissance of balloon launch sites, tracking them with aerial reconnaissance, and collecting falling debris, while giving priority to public safety.”

The General Staff asked the public to avoid “any contact” with this waste. The Seoul Municipality sent an alert message to residents on Saturday, after discovering new balloons, about the presence of an “unidentified object that is presumed to be North Korean propaganda leaflets.”

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Pyongyang talks about responding

Pyongyang said earlier this week that its balloons, “Sincere Gifts,” were intended to respond to the sending of balloons loaded with propaganda leaflets against leader Kim Jong Un into its territory.

North Korea has long been angered by such actions by South Korean activists, who sometimes also send money, rice or USB sticks of South Korean TV dramas.

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