Defector group sends more propaganda leaflets to N. Korea, raising concern about Pyongyang’s trash balloons

Members of Gyeoreul Unification Solidarity prepare to send balloons carrying propaganda leaflets critical of the North Korean regime across the border, June 8. Yonhap

A North Korean defectors’ group said Saturday that it has sent additional propaganda leaflets critical of the North Korean regime across the border, heightening concerns that Pyongyang may resume sending balloons filled with trash in retaliation.

Ten large balloons, carrying approximately 200,000 leaflets criticizing North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, were launched from Ganghwa Island near the border between 9 and 10 p.m. Friday, according to a press release from Gyeoreul Unification Solidarity.

Additionally, USB drives containing President Yoon Suk Yeol’s speech for the March 1 Independence Movement Day and messages from U.S. senators and congressmen aimed at North Korean audiences were included in the balloons.

The Seoul government confirmed that these balloons had crossed into North Korean territory.

“Yesterday, we observed the launch of the balloons and are maintaining a state of readiness while closely monitoring North Korean activities,” a military official said on condition of anonymity.

No retaliatory actions have been detected yet from North Korea.

The latest leafleting campaign comes in the wake of Pyongyang’s recent launch of nearly 1,000 balloons filled with trash into South Korea, which it described as a “tit-for-tat” response to anti-Pyongyang leafleting.

Following the South Korean government’s warning of “unendurable” countermeasures, including the potential resumption of 추천 loudspeaker broadcasts, North Korea announced it would temporarily suspend the release of balloons across the border.

However, North Korea also threatened to send “a hundred times the amount of toilet paper and filth” in response to any further leafleting from the South, raising concerns that the waste-filled campaign could resume.

Despite the threats, North Korean defector groups have continued their anti-regime campaigns.

On Thursday, the Fighters for a Free North Korea launched balloons carrying 200,000 leaflets. Another defector group released 500 plastic bottles containing rice and U.S. dollar bills the following day.

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