Kim Yo Jong warned of a “crisis of confrontation” if South Korea did not suspend propaganda broadcasts.

North Korea launched hundreds of garbage balloons into South Korea after Kim Jong Un’s influential sister warned Seoul to stop propaganda broadcasts across its tense border.

Pyongyang sent more than 300 garbage-laden balloons across the inter-Korean border overnight, South Korea’s military said on Monday, after Kim Yo Jong earlier warned that loudspeaker broadcasts risked provoke a “confrontational crisis”.

“This is the prelude to a very dangerous situation,” Kim said in a statement carried by state media on Sunday.

The latest balloons carried only paper and plastic scraps, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, unlike previous batches that carried unsanitary materials such as manure, toilet paper and cigarette butts.

Military officials said they had not detected any balloons floating in the air as of 8:30 am.

South Korea resumed broadcasts over loudspeakers hours earlier in response to the North sending more than 1,000 trash balloons in recent weeks.

In the past, broadcasts have included international news and K-pop, both of which have been restricted by Kim’s regime.

Seoul halted broadcasts in 2018 during a period of inter-Korean rapprochement initiated by former President Moon Jae-in, the predecessor of current conservative Yoon Seok-yeol.

Pyongyang said it started the balloon campaign in retaliation for South Korean activists who sent anti-North Korean leaflets and flash drives filled with South Korean songs and dramas across the border.

“Seoul does not want military tension on the inter-Korean border and Pyongyang does not want outside information that threatens the legitimacy of the Kim regime,” said Leif-Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.

“For both sides, ‘escalate to de-escalate’ is a risky proposition. North Korea may have already miscalculated, as South Korea’s democracy cannot simply stop NGO balloon launches as an autocracy would expect. Pyongyang is accustomed to employing asymmetrical tactics to its advantage, but in today’s information space, it is overtaken by messages of freedom, economic success and K-pop.”



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