South Korean Activists Defy Warnings, Send Balloons into North Korea

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.06 - 2024 10:45 AM CET

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Photo: On Demand News on YouTube
Photo: On Demand News on YouTube
A South Korean activist group has flown balloons into North Korea.

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A South Korean activist group has flown balloons into North Korean territory carrying leaflets criticizing leader Kim Jong Un.

This action comes just days after North Korea sent thousands of balloons carrying trash across the border to South Korea.

Park Sang-hak, a defector who fled North Korea in 2000, leads the group Fighters For Free North Korea.

On Thursday, Park announced that his group had launched 10 balloons from the border town of Pocheon, as reported by Reuters. These balloons carried 200,000 flyers, 5,000 USB sticks with K-pop videos and dramas, and 2,000 $1 bills.

History of Balloon Launches

For decades, North Korean defectors and activists in South Korea have used balloons to send anti-North Korea leaflets and aid parcels across the heavily fortified border.

Park’s latest campaign follows North Korea’s recent action of sending 3,500 balloons filled with 15 tons of trash, including some with excrement, into the South.

This provoked tensions in border towns and led Seoul to suspend a 2018 inter-Korean military pact, resuming military activities around the border.

Images provided by Park showed a leaflet with a photograph of Kim Jong Un and his sister, accompanied by a note: "The enemy of the people Kim Jong Un sent filth and trash to the people of the Republic of Korea, but we defectors send truth and love to our North Korean compatriots."

Reaction and Government Stance

In response to the trash balloons, Park’s group issued a statement condemning Kim Jong Un for the "worst insult and humiliation" against South Koreans and vowed to continue their leaflet campaigns until Kim apologizes.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, in his Memorial Day speech on Thursday, reaffirmed his commitment to building peace through strength.

He emphasized transforming North Korea, restoring its people's freedom and human rights, and ultimately achieving unification.

Ongoing Tensions

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

North Korea has long labeled defectors as "human scum."

Following Seoul's threat to restart loudspeaker broadcasts along the border after a six-year pause, North Korea said it would stop sending trash balloons but threatened to resume if anti-North leaflets were launched again.

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