North Korea sends garbage, anti-Seoul leaflets by balloon to South Korea

The airdrop of garbage is unprecedented and included 600 cigarette butts.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 4, 2016 at 2:26 PM
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SEOUL, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Tensions at the border between North and South Korea are rising after Pyongyang dropped nearly 300,000 propaganda leaflets south of the demilitarized zone, as well as trash that included hundreds of cigarette butts, according to South Korea police.

The airdrop of garbage is unprecedented and includes 600 cigarette butts, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Police and Seoul's Defense Ministry, however, did not confirm an earlier news report that suggested used toilet paper was part of the Pyongyang package, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Local newspaper JoongAng Daily reported the garbage drop and its contents had placed officials on high alert and raised fears that North Korea was sending lethal biochemical agents to the South.

All material was dispatched from the North in balloons, timed to explode once they reached south of the border.

But timer failure has led to accidents, and the balloons, containing leaflets that called South Korean President Park Geun-hye a "filthy president" and South Korea the "Republic of Garbage" have crashed onto rooftops and on cars.

One resident suffered more than $3,000 in damages to his car in the city of Goyang in Gyeonggi Province. Other residents said the glass windows of their homes were shattered or their water tanks damaged due to exploding helium balloons containing heaps of propaganda leaflets with derogatory anti-Seoul content.

North Korea began sending the propaganda leaflets by balloon after Jan. 13, when Pyongyang requested Seoul cease loudspeaker broadcasts across the DMZ, and the South refused.

The balloons contained other material, including CDs that had digital images of the same leaflets that were distributed to the South.

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