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South Korea to resume loudspeaker propaganda in response to the North’s balloon barrage

North Korea sent more than 300 trash-filled balloons across the border in a fresh blitz starting Saturday, Seoul’s military said, with the president’s office saying this had forced it to take “corresponding measures”.

“Although the measures we are taking may be difficult for the North Korean regime to endure, they will deliver messages of light and hope to the North Korean military and citizens,” it added.

Pyongyang sent nearly a thousand balloons carrying cigarette butts and toilet paper across the border late May and early June, before calling off its campaign.

It restarted on Saturday in response to new launches last week by the activists, which Seoul’s government is almost entirely legally powerless to prevent.

The Seoul city government, as well as officials in surrounding Gyeonggi province, sent out a text alert to residents on Saturday, warning about the new balloons.

“North Korea is making another low-class provocation with trash balloons against our civilian areas,” wrote Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon in a Facebook post.

Seoul’s military said an “analysis shows there were no substances that were harmful to safety,” with the latest batch of balloons containing waste paper and plastic but it warned the public to stay away and report any balloons to authorities.


'It's the tensest city': South Koreans on border with North fear conflict

Seoul’s move to resume the loudspeaker broadcasts could have serious implications, experts said.

Past propaganda tit-for-tats have had real-world consequences for inter-Korean relations.

The loudspeaker broadcasts, a tactic which dates back to the 1950-1953 Korean war, infuriate Pyongyang, which has previously threatened artillery strikes against the loudspeaker units unless they were switched