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North Korea sends another wave of trash balloons into South Korea

Seoul CNN —

North Korea has yet again sent hundreds of trash-laden balloons toward its southern neighbor, reigniting a tit-for-tat exchange after South Korean activists sent floating packages in the other direction carrying K-pop and K-dramas on USB sticks.

About 330 balloons carrying bags of trash had been sent by North Korea since Saturday night, of which about 80 have landed in South Korea, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Sunday.

Waste paper and plastic were found in the packages and there were no substances hazardous to safety, the JCS said.

Around 1,060 balloons from the North have made it into South Korean territory since May 28, according to a CNN tally.

South Korea’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss responses to the latest wave of balloons.

Last week, Pyongyang claimed to have sent a total of 3,500 balloons carrying 15 tonnes of trash to its neighbor, according to state media KCNA, citing North Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Kim Kang Il.

The South Korean military responded on Sunday afternoon local time by playing a loudspeaker broadcast into North Korea, according to the JCS.

South Korea’s military once championed the propaganda broadcasts as part of psychological warfare against the North, until it withdrew the equipment following a 2018 summit between the neighbors.

The broadcasts inform North Korean soldiers and residents of the “reality of North Korea,” the development of South Korea, and Korean culture, the JCS said, adding that it is “capable of immediately performing its mission within a few hours if necessary.”

The JCS said that North Korea is “fully responsible” for the current situation and urged the North to “immediately stop such mean acts like