North Korea Decides to Cease Trash Balloon Deliveries to South Korea

( – North Korea has announced that it will stop sending balloon deliveries of garbage into South Korea, stating that the campaign had successfully conveyed North Korea’s “unpleasant” feelings following provocation from its neighbor.

The retaliation came after Seoul launched leafleting campaigns, which resulted in scattered waste paper needing to be cleared across the border. North Korea’s announcement that it will temporarily cease the deliveries of garbage came hours after South Korea threatened to resume loudspeaker broadcasters at the border, which criticized Pyongyang’s human rights track record. K-pop songs and world news broadcasts were also played over the speakers.

North Korean vice defense minister, Kim Kang Il, said the trash deliveries were intended to show South Korea how unpleasant it was for North Koreans left with paper waste to clear up following the balloon deliveries of propaganda leaflets attacking Pyongyang’s government. Kim warned that if the propaganda leaflet balloons cross the border again, North Korea will dump hundreds of times the amount in garbage on its neighbor.

Commentators have suggested that South Korea will resume the speaker broadcasts instead, which its neighbor is particularly sensitive to due to lacking access to radio programs and news sources from foreign countries. South Korea’s defense minister Shin Won-sik called the garbage deliveries “petty” and “low-grade behavior”.

The military announced it was investigating the contents of the balloons, and warned the public to avoid touching the bags of garbage and report them to authorities. Seoul claimed the actions of Pyongyang violated international law, adding that the deliveries of garbage threatened the safety of South Koreans. The military warned the North to cease the “inhumane and crass” acts immediately.

The balloon deliveries from North Korea prompted the South to put a planned military deal with its neighbor on hold. The 2018 agreement, which was already partially frozen in 2023 when North Korea put a spy satellite in orbit, is the most significant agreement to follow months of meetings between the two nations. Suspension of the agreement allows South Korea to proceed with military training near the border and, if necessary, take “immediate measures”, according to the country’s National Security Council. North Korea has also announced that it will no longer comply with the agreement. Kim Yo Jong, sister of leader Kim Jong Un, mocked the reaction to the deliveries of garbage, which even contained animal feces. She claimed North Koreans were expressing free speech.

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