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Seoul says Pyongyang is again sending balloons full of waste south


North Korea has again sent numerous balloons containing plastic bags full of trash over the heavily militarized border between the two countries, South Korea said.

About 330 “garbage balloons” were released from North Korea between Saturday and Sunday morning, according to the general staff in the capital Seoul.

More than 80 of them had landed on South Korean territory. The rest probably didn’t reach their goal. The waste included paper and plastic.

Initial research showed that these did not contain any hazardous substances. Nevertheless, people were urged not to touch the landed objects.

North Korea’s balloon actions are a response to similar activities by South Korean groups, which repeatedly send thousands of leaflets and other propaganda material across the border in huge gas balloons.

In the pamphlets they criticize the authoritarian leadership of the closed neighboring country. The South Korean activists’ propaganda activities are considered controversial in South Korea.

According to South Korean media reports, two different groups undertook such leafleting campaigns on Thursday and Friday.

Pyongyang generally reacts sensitively to outside propaganda, accusing the government in Seoul of supporting such balloon campaigns by private groups.

North Korea has sent more than a thousand balloons filled with waste products and in some cases slurry to South Korea since late May.

Given rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government recently decided to suspend a 2018 military agreement with North Korea on confidence-building measures at the border.

This paved the way for the resumption of military exercises near the military demarcation line and possible propaganda broadcasts with loudspeakers towards the north.

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