North Korea’s Balloon Provocation Meets South Korea’s K-pop Retaliation | FRIDAY DIGITAL

North Korea’s Balloon Provocation Meets South Korea’s K-pop Retaliation

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Kim Yo-jong commented, “It has become routine for the people of South Korea to pick up garbage.”

“Constantly picking up trash will become the daily life of the people of South Korea.”

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, issued a statement on June 9 provoking South Korea.

North Korea sprayed “filth balloons” filled with animal feces and urine and paper scraps to North Korea has been dispersing “trash balloons” containing animal feces, paper scraps, and other waste towards South Korea. In response, South Korea has used giant loudspeakers to broadcast K-pop group BTS’s songs and news about North Korea’s international isolation. 

The conflict began in May this year when a South Korean defector group, the “Association of Free North Korea Movement,” sent around 20 large balloons containing leaflets criticizing Kim Jong Un and USB drives with K-pop videos. In retaliation, North Korea scattered the trash balloons. South Korea has reported damage such as car windshields breaking and delays to passenger flights due to these trash balloons.

Why Animal Feces, Not Human Feces?

Trash balloons that have flown into South Korea

It may seem like a childish exchange, but there are serious reasons behind it. According to Hwan Shin-il, editor-in-chief of Korea Report who is familiar with the situation on the Korean Peninsula, “The contents of the trash balloons reveal North Korea’s economic hardships.”

“The garbage balloons were deployed in two separate instances. According to North Korea’s announcement, the first deployment involved about 3,000 balloons weighing approximately 15 tons. The second deployment consisted of 1,400 balloons weighing 7.5 tons, totaling around 4,400 balloons. However, despite Kim Yo Jong’s bold challenge to South Korea’s loudspeaker broadcasts promising to “return 100 times more,” the second deployment was reduced by half.

The first batch of garbage balloons contained animal feces like cow and pig dung, not human feces, as human waste is valued as fertilizer in North Korea. By the second deployment, there was mostly torn paper and no animal waste. It appears that North Korea may not even have enough waste or garbage to fill the balloons. Due to severe shortages, it seems Kim Jong Un’s true intention is to cease the exchange of provocations with South Korea.”

It seems that North Korea lacks even the capacity to launch garbage balloons.

“North Korea, facing shortages that prevent it from distributing garbage balloons or leaflets, resorts to aggressive measures. An example is the incident in August 2015, where North Korean mines injured two South Korean soldiers. In retaliation, South Korea installed loudspeakers at around 30 locations, broadcasting criticisms of the Kim Jong Un regime day and night.

In response, North Korea fired seven artillery shells towards South Korea. South Korea retaliated with 29 shots from 155mm artillery, nearly leading to immediate conflict. Both countries engaged in 48 hours of negotiations over four days to prevent military confrontation, but the current situation is considerably worse than before. President Yoon Seok yeol of South Korea exhibits a tougher stance compared to former President Park Geun-hye, warning of the risk that North Korea might resort to large-scale military actions if provocations escalate. This situation demands serious concern and cannot be viewed optimistically.”

Indeed, June 25 coincides with the start of the Korean War. Tensions have escalated once again between North Korea and South Korea.



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