According to multiple reports, North Korea dropped at least 260 trash and excrement-filled balloons across the heavily fortified border into South Korean territory.

“The South Korean military released photos on Wednesday, some showing rubbish strewn around collapsed balloons, with the word ‘excrement’ written on a bag in one photograph,” Al Jazeera reports.

North Korea’s actions allegedly were a response to “South Korean propaganda campaigns using balloons.”

“We sternly warn the North to immediately stop its inhumane and low-class actions,” said Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Al Jazeera.

“The North’s actions clearly violate international laws and seriously threaten the safety of our people,” it added.

Per BBC:

South Korea’s military also cautioned the public against touching the white balloons and the plastic bags attached to them because they contain “filthy waste and trash”.

The balloons have been found in eight of nine provinces in South Korea and are now being analysed.

North and South Korea have both used balloons in their propaganda campaigns since the Korean War in the 1950s.

South Korea’s military had earlier said it was investigating whether there were any North Korean propaganda leaflets in the balloons.

The recent incident comes days after North Korea said it would retaliate against the “frequent scattering of leaflets and other rubbish” in border areas by activists in the South.

“Mounds of wastepaper and filth will soon be scattered over the border areas and the interior of the ROK and it will directly experience how much effort is required to remove them,” North Korea’s vice-minister of defence Kim Kang Il said in a statement to state media on Sunday.


Al Jazeera reports:

The military’s explosives ordnance unit and chemical and biological warfare response team were deployed to inspect and collect the objects, and an alert was issued warning residents to keep away and report any sightings to authorities.

The South Korean authorities had received prior warning of the attack. Kim Kang Il, the North’s vice minister of defence, issued a statement on Sunday warning that “mounds of wastepaper and filth” would be sent to the South as “tit-for-tat action” in response to the flying of “dirty things” to the North.

South Korean activists, often led by North Korean defectors, have regularly sent balloons carrying leaflets with messages critical of Pyongyang and even USB memory sticks with K-pop music videos the other way.

Pyongyang has long been infuriated by the propaganda campaigns, possibly due to concerns that an influx of outside information in the tightly controlled society could pose a threat to Kim Jong Un’s rule.

Previous South Korean governments have sought to stop activists from conducting such campaigns, arguing they did not help advance peace and endangered the safety of residents near the border.

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