North Korea Bombards South Korea with Garbage Balloons

( – On Wednesday, May 29th, North Korea sent hundreds of balloons filled with garbage, debris, and excrement across the border into South Korea. Pictures of the area show bags, trash, and debris scattered along highways, some bags with the word “excrement” written on them. In Seoul, the military found a possible timer that may have been designed to cause the bags to pop in midair.

Even though the Korean War ended in 1953, a formal peace treaty was never signed. The rivaling countries have used balloons as part of their information war for years. South Korea sent balloons into North Korea earlier in May with leaflets criticizing the North Korean leader along with memory sticks containing music and television shows that are prohibited in North Korea.

North Korea’s Deputy Defense Minister Kim Kang II stated on Sunday that “mounds of wastepaper and filth” would be dropped on the South near the border areas in retaliation. Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, called the balloons “gifts of sincerity.”

The South Korean military estimates around 260 balloons filled with hazardous trash have been discovered. Military rapid response and explosive teams were sent to recover the dropped items. Citizens were warned not to touch the balloons or debris from the balloons, instead, citizens should immediately report the discovery of these objects to the police or military.

An official at the presidential office in Seoul said that North Korea sent the balloons filled with “rubbish and miscellaneous objects” to test the South’s reaction as a form of psychological warfare.

The militaries of both countries routinely face off and threaten each other across the border. According to Peter Ward of the Sejong Institute, sending balloons back and forth presents a lower risk than military action that could escalate uncontrollably.

The South Korean military said that North Korea had violated international law and threatened the safety of the people of South Korea. The North was warned to “immediately stop its inhumane and vulgar act.”

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