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

New Delhi:

In a move that signals rising tensions with its neighbor, South Korea has announced its decision to resume loudspeaker broadcasts to North Korea for the first time in six years. The decision comes after recent provocations by Pyongyang, including the release of hundreds of balloons loaded with garbage across the border into South Korea.

The resumption of the broadcast, which was halted under a 2018 accord, marks a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between the two Koreas. The broadcasts, transmitted through 24 high-powered speakers strategically located near the border of the demilitarized zone, are designed to reach deep into North Korean territory, covering a distance of more than 20 kilometers.

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye once described loudspeaker broadcasts as “the most effective form of psychological warfare”, in encouraging North Koreans to defect to the South. His character was referred to. This sentiment is echoed by defectors who fled the repressive regime in the North, illustrating the psychological impact of such broadcasts on the masses.

Photo credit: AFP

Dubbed the “Voice of Freedom” by the South Korean military, the broadcast covers topics such as the primacy of liberal democracy, South Korea’s economic success, the rationale for reunification, and the harsh realities of life in North Korean society.

However, North Korea has responded to South Korea’s actions with provocations of its own and today sent 300 thrash-filled balloons across the border. Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has warned of possible retaliation if South Korea continues to broadcast over loudspeakers and distribute anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets.

“This is a prelude to a very dangerous situation,” said Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s sister. Apart from being the leader’s sister, she is also the deputy department director in the ruling Workers’ Party.

Over the weekend, North Korea sent hundreds of trash-filled balloons to the South. The Seoul city government, and authorities in the surrounding Gyeonggi province, sent text alerts to residents on Saturday, warning of the balloons.

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

The North Korean government says the 10 balloons would have stopped floating last Sunday had it not been for the South Korean group “Fighters for Free North Korea”. Among the balloons sent by the South were thumb drives containing K-pop music and 200,000 leaflets denouncing Kim’s rule.

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