North Korea suspends shipment of waste balloons to South Korea

Steph Deschamps /  June 3,

 

North Korea pledged on Sunday to "suspend" the launch of balloons filled with waste, ranging from cigarette butts to animal excrement, into South Korea, after launching several hundred in recent days.
 
"We will temporarily suspend the dispersal of waste across the border," said the official North Korean news agency KCNA, assuring that this "countermeasure" had been effective.
 
Since Tuesday, nearly 1,000 balloons have been launched by Pyongyang towards its neighbor, including 600 on Sunday, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Seoul denouncing the action as "low-level" and threatening retaliation
 
By 10:00 local time on Sunday, between 20 and 50 balloons per hour had been counted in the air by the South Korean army.
 
The balloons landed in South Korea's northern provinces, including the capital Seoul and the adjacent Gyeonggi region, which together are home to almost half of the South's population.
 
South Korea said the North Korean initiative contravened the armistice agreement that ended hostilities between the two Koreas in 1953, even though "no dangerous substance was found" in the balloons.
 
Pyongyang claimed earlier this week that its balloons, which were "sincere gifts", were intended to retaliate for the dispatch on its territory of balloons laden with propaganda leaflets against leader Kim Jong Un.
 
North Korea has long been exasperated by these actions of South Korean activists, who sometimes also send money, rice or USB sticks of South Korean TV dramas.

 

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