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South Korea slams North Korea’s fresh trash balloon launches and threatens loudspeaker broadcasts

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea threatened Tuesday to restart anti-Pyongyang frontline propaganda broadcasts in the latest bout of Cold War-style campaigns between the rivals after North Korea resumed its trash-carrying balloon launches.

On Monday night, North Korea floated huge balloons carrying plastic bags of rubbish across the border in its fifth such campaign since late May — an apparent response to South Korean activists flying political leaflets via balloons.

In a Tuesday speech marking a Korean War anniversary, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called North Korea’s balloon activities “a despicable and irrational provocation.” He said South Korea will maintain a firm military readiness to repel any provocations by North Korea.

Later Tuesday, Yoon boarded a visiting U.S. aircraft carrier docked at a southeastern port and told American and South Korean troops there that the two countries’ alliance is the world’s greatest and can defeat any enemy. Yoon became the first sitting South Korean president to board a U.S. aircraft carrier since 1994.

South Korea’s military said North Korea floated about 350 balloons in its latest campaign, and about 100 of them eventually landed in South Korean soil, mostly in Seoul and nearby areas. Seoul is about 40-50 kilometers (25-30 miles) away from the border. The military said the trash carried by the North Korean balloons were mostly papers and that no hazardous items were found.

In its earlier balloon launches, North Korea dropped manure, cigarette butts and waste batteries along with cloth scraps and waste papers in various parts of South Korea. No major damage was reported. In response, South Korea redeployed gigantic loudspeakers June 9 along the border for the first