North Korea sends more trash balloons as Kim’s sister warns of ‘new counteraction’

In response to South Korea’s decision to resume broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda, North Korea has sent a fresh round of balloons filled with trash towards its southern neighbor. This action comes after Kim Jong Un’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, warned of further retaliation if the South continues its “psychological warfare.” The balloons have been criticized by Seoul as being both dangerous and provocative. Kim Yo Jong stated that the resumption of loudspeaker broadcasts is a precursor to a potentially hazardous situation. North Korea has threatened South Korea with an undisclosed “new counteraction” if they persist with the loudspeaker broadcasts and fail to prevent activists from sending anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets across the border.
Kim issued a stern warning to Seoul, urging them to immediately cease their dangerous actions. He accused Seoul of creating a new crisis environment. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) held North Korea fully responsible for the current situation and called on them to stop sending waste balloons. The JCS spokesperson, in a statement on Monday, did not confirm whether the South would continue broadcasting over loudspeakers, but mentioned that the military would adapt its missions based on the strategic and operational situation. The escalating exchange of actions has raised concerns about potential retaliatory military measures. Last week, the South Korean government suspended a 2018 agreement aimed at reducing military tensions with the North, allowing for the resumption of propaganda broadcasts and the potential restart of military exercises along the border.
Following a 2018 agreement, South Korea’s military ceased its use of propaganda broadcasts as a form of psychological warfare against North Korea. These broadcasts were aimed at informing North Korean soldiers and residents about the reality of North Korea, the development of South Korea, and modern Korean culture, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

In response to years of South Korean activist groups sending balloons with anti-North Korea leaflets across the border, North Korea has recently floated over a thousand balloons filled with trash. The North claims this action is a tit-for-tat response. The South Korean military reported finding around 50 balloons that had fallen into its territory overnight on Sunday, with many other balloons presumed to have flown back into North Korea due to the wind, as stated by a JCS spokesperson.
South Korean activists took action on Thursday by releasing balloons across the border into North Korea. These balloons carried hundreds of thousands of leaflets criticizing leader Kim Jong Un, as well as 5,000 USB sticks filled with K-pop music and K-dramas.

For many years, North Korea has maintained a strict policy of isolation, tightly controlling the flow of information in and out of the country. Foreign materials such as movies and books are prohibited, with only a select few exceptions approved by the state. Those caught with contraband from outside often face severe punishment, according to defectors.

Earlier this year, a South Korean research group made headlines by releasing rare footage showing North Korean teenagers being sentenced to hard labor for watching and distributing K-dramas. This incident shed light on the extreme measures taken by the North Korean regime to maintain its strict control over information and entertainment.
In recent decades, North Korea’s relationship with China has expanded, leading to a slight relaxation of restrictions. This allowed certain aspects of South Korean pop culture to enter the secluded nation, particularly in 2017 and 2018 when relations between the two countries improved.

However, the situation in North Korea worsened in the subsequent years, causing diplomatic talks to break down. As a result, strict rules and regulations were reinstated in the North.

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