North Korea: We've Made Our Point With Balloon Drop

The 260 large white balloons held bags said to contain excrement
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2024 8:28 AM CDT
Updated Jun 2, 2024 4:40 PM CDT
North Korea's Balloon Drop Called a 'Vulgar Act'
Balloons with trash presumably sent by North Korea hang on electric wires as South Korean army soldiers stand guard in Muju, South Korea, Wednesday, May 29, 2024.   (Jeonbuk Fire Headquarters via AP)
UPDATE Jun 2, 2024 4:40 PM CDT

A top defense official said North Korea will "temporarily halt dropping trash over the border" in balloons after South Korea promised "unendurable measures" in retaliation. "We've let the South Koreans experience enough of how dirty it feels and how much joint effort it takes to clean up spread-out rubbish," Kim Kang Il, vice-defense minister, said in a statement released Sunday, CNN reports. South Korea's presidential office said that its next move will be detailed later but that it "will not rule out the issue of resuming [playing] loudspeakers" that blared propaganda across the demilitarized zone until a deal ended the practice in 2018.

May 29, 2024 8:28 AM CDT

Bird poop dropping from the sky is understandable. Human waste, not so much. But that's apparently what fell from the sky over South Korea, which has pointed a finger at the North and warned residents to remain indoors. The BBC reports at least 260 white balloons attached to plastic bags holding "filthy waste and trash" ended up falling on eight of the country's nine provinces. Some bags remained intact; others spilled their contents where they landed.

Yonhap reports the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported it was the greatest number of balloons sent at once by the North, and that the bags held items including plastic bottles, batteries, shoe parts, and manure. The Wall Street Journal cites others that held "shreds of pink, blue and white paper, an empty laundry-detergent bag and dark clumps that looked like excrement." In a "stern warning," the JCS urged the North "to immediately stop its inhumane and vulgar act."

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The balloons arrived just days after the North's vice defense minister told state media that "mounds of wastepaper and filth will soon be scattered over the border areas and the interior" of South Korea in retaliation for the "frequent scattering of leaflets and other rubbish" by that country's activists. The South should "directly experience how much effort is required to remove" the balloons, he added. The Journal reports balloons carrying 300,000 leaflets and thousands of USB drives holding K-pop music had recently been sent northward. (More North Korea stories.)

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