It feels like the ongoing tensions between North Korea and South Korea are now more strained (and strange) than ever. With the hermit kingdom currently getting pummeled by the south’s K-Pop hits and provocative propaganda, it was only a matter of time before they started to fight back – and luckily, their retaliation has proven to be equally imaginative. According to reports in the New York Times, the north have been sending balloons full of cigarette butts across the border, and are now showering their southern neighbours with the contents via timed detonations.
As well as some stray fag ends, the balloons also apparently feature a load of other random rubbish: including used toilet paper and some written insults to South Korean president Park Geun-hye. It may sound harsh, but given that the secretive state has often rubbished the south’s “political filth” and its “human trash” leader, it’s an oddly thoughtful and consistent gift.
Unfortunately, many of the balloon’s exact contents are still yet to be established, though some failed detonations saw them collapse on a number of rooftops and cars near the border. “We can confirm that they included cigarette butts,” said Kim Hak-young, a chief superintendent of the police, earlier today – though he reportedly failed to elaborate on any of their other contents.
The news comes after North Korea’s recent nuclear test on January 6, which saw the psychological warfare between the two countries hit boiling point. Before then, the south would occasionally blast loud K-Pop music over a massive borderline speaker system, or blast their own balloons carrying American dollar bills, films and leaflets insulting president Kim Jong Un.
“Kim Jong Un isn’t your typical dictator,” a senior researcher at Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Park Chang Kwon, told Bloomberg after the propaganda attacks last month. “He’s a god in North Korea, and propaganda broadcasts raise questions among North Koreans about that. Broadcasts from South Korea can reach deep and far into North Korea’s society, imbuing the minds of its people with the images of a free nation and hurting the oppressive personality cult.”
North Korea previously revealed that they found South Korea’s moves to be an act of “war”, and have repeatedly made threats to retaliate. Let’s just hope it stays this petty.