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North Korea defectors launch 'birthday' balloons across DMZ

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea defectors launch 'birthday' balloons across DMZ
Park Sang-hak, an activist who heads Fighters For Free North Korea, said his group launched 10 balloons containing anti-Kim material, the same day North Korea celebrates the 105th birth anniversary of founder Kim Il Sung. File Photo by Jeon Heon-kyun/EPA

April 14 (UPI) -- North Korean defectors are crashing Kim Il Sung's birthday party with helium balloon launches.

Park Sang-hak, an activist who heads Fighters For Free North Korea, said his group launched 10 balloons containing 300,000 flyers, 2,000 one-dollar bills, 1,000 flash drives, another 1,000 DVDs, and 500 pamphlets.

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The ten activists launched the balloons between 5 and 6 a.m. on Saturday, local time, as North Korea prepared to kick off a massive military parade to commemorate the 105th birth anniversary of founder Kim Il Sung.

Park, who had struggled to gain permission to send the balloons across the demilitarized zone during the administration of former President Park Geun-hye, is sending the package of anti-Kim material with a renewed purpose: to spread word of the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's older half brother, Yonhap reported.

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The balloons included big banners displaying photographs of Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Nam.

The North Korean leader's photo ran with the caption, "Killer," while the slain Kim Jong Nam's image was titled "Deceased."

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The flyers contain information on how the older Kim died at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, according to Yonhap.

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Kim Jong Nam's assassination occurred when two young women attacked him, possibly with a deadly nerve agent, while North Korean accomplices may have planned the slaying behind the scenes, according to authorities in Malaysia.

The balloons also include condemnations of the North Korean regime, the practice of Kim Il Sung idolization, and North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons development.

"We condemn the hereditary Kim Jong Un dictatorship that is constantly blackmailing [South Korea] and the international community with nuclear weapons and missiles," Park said.

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On Saturday morning, local time, North Korea launched a military parade to commemorate Kim Il Sung's birth anniversary.

"The most powerful and cutting-edge striking and defense means in our own style is lined up to put an end to military supremacy claimed by imperialists," Pyongyang stated.

North Korea displayed its submarine-launched ballistic missiles and its KN-15 midrange ballistic missiles on Saturday, as Kim Jong Un watched from the dais.

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