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North Korea resumes sending balloons with garbage to the South

North Korea sent a new wave of garbage-laden balloons towards its southern neighbor late on Sunday (9), after Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister warned of new responses if the South continues its “war psychological.”

The new balloons, which Seoul has already classified as “basic and dangerous”, appear in apparent retaliation for South Korea’s decision to resume broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda through loudspeakers in border areas.

Kim’s sister and government spokeswoman Kim Yo Jong warned that the resumption of loudspeaker broadcasts was “a prelude to a very dangerous situation.”

In a statement carried by North Korean state media, Kim said South Korea would be subject to an unspecified “further response action” from the North if it continued loudspeaker broadcasts and failed to stop the activists. sent anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets across the border.

“I sternly warn Seoul to immediately stop this dangerous act,” Kim said, adding that Seoul is creating a “new crisis environment.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea is “fully responsible” for the current situation and urged the North to “immediately stop petty acts such as sending trash balloons.”

In a statement released Monday, a General Staff spokesperson did not say whether the South would continue to broadcast messages over loudspeakers, noting only that the military would conduct missions “flexibly according to the strategic and operational situation.”

The growing apprehension has raised concerns about potential retaliatory military action. Last week, the South Korean government suspended a 2018 agreement that was intended to reduce military tensions with the North, allowing it to resume propaganda broadcasts and potentially restart military exercises along the border.

South Korea’s military once routinely used propaganda broadcasts as a means of psychological warfare against the North, until it removed the equipment following the 2018 agreement.

The broadcasts inform North Korean soldiers and residents about the “reality of North Korea” and the development of South Korea and modern Korean culture, according to the Seoul military.

Eye for an eye

In recent weeks, the North has launched more than a thousand trash-filled balloons across the fortified border in what it says is a response to the years-long practice among South Korean activist groups of sending balloons carrying anti-North Korea leaflets toward Pyongyang.

On Monday morning (10), the South Korean military found “around 50 balloons” that fell in its territory during Sunday night. Many other balloons are believed to have returned to North Korea due to the wind, according to a South government spokesman.

On Thursday, South Korean activists sent balloons across the border toward the North, carrying hundreds of thousands of leaflets condemning leader Kim Jong Un and 5,000 flash drives containing songs and series produced in the South.

For decades, North Korea has been almost completely isolated from the rest of the world, with tight control over the information that goes in and out. Foreign materials, including films and books, are prohibited, with only a few state-sanctioned exceptions; those caught with foreign contraband often face harsh punishments, defectors say.

Earlier this year, a South Korean research group released rare footage it claimed showed North Korean teenagers sentenced to forced labor for watching and distributing South Korean series.

Restrictions have eased somewhat in recent decades as North Korea’s relationship with China has expanded. The provisional opening allowed some South Korean elements, including parts of its pop culture, to infiltrate the hermit nation – especially in 2017 and 2018, when relations between the two countries thawed.

But the situation in North Korea deteriorated in the following years and diplomatic negotiations fell apart – causing strict rules to come back into force in the North.

Source: CNN Brasil

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