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South Korea resumes loudspeaker broadcasts across the border in balloon rows


South Korea has said it will resume propaganda broadcasts against North Korea for the first time in six years in response to Pyongyang’s campaign to send waste-filled balloons across the border.

More than 300 North Korean balloons were detected on Saturday and Sunday, with about 80 landing in the south carrying waste paper and plastic sheeting.

North Korea has not yet responded to the announcement, but Pyongyang considers the loudspeaker propaganda an act of war and has threatened to blow it up in the past.

Last month, North Korea appeared to send at least 200 balloons filled with waste across the border retaliation for propaganda leaflets sent from the south.

South Korean officials warn the public not to touch the balloons, but to report them (Reuters)

North Korea resumed its waste campaign against its neighbor this weekend by sending balloons containing bags of waste across the border into South Korea.

According to the AFP news agency, it was in retaliation for activists in the South who sent ten balloons on Friday containing leaflets critical of the North Korean regime.

The South Korean military said there are no balloons left in the sky, adding that no hazardous materials have been found.

She has warned the public not to touch the balloons and to be alert for falling objects.

The public should report any sightings to the nearest police or military unit, the military added.

After the latest round of balloons, South Korea’s National Security Council said loudspeaker broadcasts at the border would resume on Sunday after agreeing to restart the loudspeakers for the first time since 2018.

On Thursday, an activist group in South Korea said it had flown balloons into North Korea carrying pamphlets criticizing leader Kim Jong Un, dollar bills and USB drives containing K-pop music videos – which are banned in the North.

In recent years, broadcasts have included news from both Korea and abroad, as well as information about democracy and life in South Korea.

The South Korean military claims the broadcasts can be heard as far as 10 km (6 miles) across the border during the day and up to 24 km (15 miles) at night.

In May, a South Korea-based activist group claimed it had sent 20 balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets and USB drives containing Korean pop music and music videos across the border.

The Seoul parliament passed a law in December 2020 that makes this possible criminalizes the launch of anti-Pyongyang leafletsbut critics have raised concerns about freedom of expression and human rights.

North Korea also launched balloons south that attacked Seoul’s leaders.

One such launch in 2016 saw the Balloons reportedly carried toilet paper, cigarette butts and trash. Seoul police described them as “dangerous biochemical substances.”

With additional reporting by Jake Kwon in Seoul

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