South Korea vows ‘unbearable’ retaliation against North over rubbish balloons

South Korea said on Sunday that it will soon take “unbearable” retaliatory steps against North Korea over its launch of rubbish-carrying balloons across the border and other provocations.

In the past week, North Korea has floated hundreds of huge balloons to dump rubbish on South Korea, simulated nuclear strikes against its neighbour and allegedly jammed GPS navigation signals in the South in an escalation of animosities between the rivals.

South Korea’s national security director, Chang Ho-jin, said on Sunday that top officials at an emergency meeting decided to take “unbearable” measures against North Korea in response to its recent series of provocative acts.

Koreas Tensions
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear examine the rubbish from a balloon sent by North Korea (Im Sun-suk/Yonhap/AP)

He accused North Korea of aiming to cause “public anxieties and chaos” in South Korea.

South Korean officials did not say what retaliatory steps they would take, but many observers say South Korea is likely to resume frontline loudspeaker broadcasts into North Korea that include criticism of its abysmal human rights situation, world news and K-pop songs.

North Korea is extremely sensitive to such broadcasts because most of its 26 million people have no official access to foreign TV and radio programmes.

Earlier on Sunday, South Korea’s military said more than 700 balloons flown from North Korea were additionally discovered in various parts of South Korea.

Koreas Tensions
South Korea said North Korea sent balloons containing rubbish in retaliation for activists flying leaflets across the border (South Korea Defence Ministry/AP)

It was North Korea’s second balloon activity in less than a week. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, South Korean officials said they had found about 260 North Korean balloons carrying rubbish and manure.

There have been no reports of major damage in South Korea.

North Korea said its balloon floating is in reaction to South Korean activists flying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets via their own balloons across the border.

North Korea often responds with fury to balloons from South Korea.

In 2020, North Korea blew up an empty, South Korean-built liaison office in the North in anger at the South Korean balloon activities.

Koreas Tensions
Balloons filled with rubbish hang on electric wires in Muju as South Korean army soldiers stand guard in Muju (Jeonbuk Fire Headquarters/AP)

They say North Korea is also expected to further ramp up tensions ahead of the US presidential election in November.

Since 2022, North Korea has sharply increased the pace of weapons tests to build a bigger nuclear arsenal.

Last week, it fired a barrage of nuclear-capable weapons into the sea in a drill simulating a pre-emptive attack on South Korea.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –