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Trash-Filled Balloons, K-Pop On Loudspeakers


North Korea has sent trash-filled balloons in waves across the border, since May.

New Delhi:

In a move signalling heightened tensions with its neighbour, South Korea has announced its decision to resume loudspeaker broadcasts directed at North Korea for the first time in six years. This decision comes on the heels of recent provocations from Pyongyang, including the launch of hundreds of balloons laden with trash across the border into South Korea.

The resumption of the broadcasts, which had been halted under a 2018 agreement, marks a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between the two Koreas. The broadcasts, transmitted through up to 24 high-power speakers strategically positioned near the Demilitarized Zone border, are designed to reach deep into North Korean territory, covering a distance of over 20 kilometers.

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye once described the loudspeaker broadcasts as “the most effective form of psychological warfare,” citing their role in encouraging North Koreans to defect to the South. This sentiment is echoed by defectors who fled the oppressive regime in the North, underscoring the psychological impact of such broadcasts on the populace.

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Photo Credit: AFP

Dubbed the “Voice of Freedom” by South Korea’s military, the broadcasts encompass themes such as the superiority of liberal democracy, South Korea’s economic success, the justification for reunification, and the stark realities of life in North Korean society.

However, North Korea has responded to South Korea’s actions with its own brand of provocation and sent 300 thrash-filled balloons across the border today. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, issued a warning of potential retaliation if South Korea persists with the loudspeaker broadcasts and the dissemination of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets.

“This is a prelude to a very dangerous situation,” said Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister. Besides being the leader’s sister, she is also a vice department director in the ruling Workers’ Party.

Over the weekend, North Korea has sent hundreds of trash-filled balloons to the South. The Seoul city government, and officials in the surrounding Gyeonggi province, sent out a text alert to residents on Saturday, warning about the balloons.

North Korea has sent trash-filled balloons in waves across the border, since May, in response to anti-Pyongyang propaganda balloons sent by the South.

North Korea government said that the balloon floating would have stopped last Sunday, had it not been for the 10 balloons sent by a South Korean group called “Fighters for Free North Korea”. Those balloons sent by the South had thumb drives containing K-pop music and 200,000 leaflets condemning Kim’s rule.

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