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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

The International Community Must Act to Stop North Korea's Trash Balloon Terrorism


Mon 08 Jul 2024 | 03:38 PM
H-Tayea

From May 28 to June 26, North Korea carried out a series of six terrorist attacks, releasing over 2,000 balloons filled with trash into South Korea. This was in response to South Korean civilian organizations sending balloons to North Korea containing print flyers criticizing Kim Jong-un and USBs with Korean songs to inform North Koreans about the reality of North Korea, but it is an insensitive and low-class act that no sane country can understand.

The reason why North Korea is so sensitive to South Korean leaflet drops is that the North Korean regime is afraid that the true nature of its regime will be revealed to its people. The moment the North Korean people are exposed to outside information, the deified image of the dictatorship that they have built up is bound to crumble. If North Koreans are exposed to outside news, it is inevitable that their suspicion and distrust of the regime will grow. In response to this, North Korea has enacted a series of laws, including the Anti-Reactionary Ideology and Culture Exclusion Act (2020), the Youth Education Guarantee Act (2021), and the Pyongyang Cultural Language Protection Act (2023). Despite this tightening of North Korea's control, the latest generation of Jangmadang have been influenced by South Korean movies and dramas and continue to be exposed to South Korean culture. North Korea has also tightened its control over its citizens, and in late 2022, there were reports of a teenager being executed by firing squad for watching a South Korean drama.

Regardless of how sensitive North Korea is to propaganda, the practice of throwing trash balloons at South Korea is clearly an act of terrorism that should be condemned by the international community. North Korean trash balloons have damaged South Korean vehicles, broken glass and rooftops, and even started fires due to faulty detonators. Furthermore, airplanes were grounded at Incheon Airport, which could have resulted in mass casualties if they had been hit. Once again, North Korea's release of these balloons can only be characterized as a clear act of terrorism. Furthermore, there is no telling what chemicals North Korea will use in the future to carry out terrorist acts, not just trash. Therefore, North Korea's trash terrorism is an extremely dangerous act that threatens national security, and the South Korean government should keep all terrorism possibilities open and keep an eye on North Korea's unpredictable provocations. Most importantly, the international community, including the United Nations, should recognize North Korea's balloon release as a clear act of terrorism and take an active response.

North Korea's latest attack seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Naturally, the international community is bound to further stigmatize North Korea as an abnormal country due to this abnormal behavior, and North Korea's poor living conditions, human rights violations, and low economic level will be more realistically revealed through the trash and garbage sent by North Korea, which will be ridiculed and laughed at by the international community. The Ministry of Unification analyzed the trash and garbage scattered by North Korea, and as one would expect, the garbage contained old clothes worn many times and old household garbage. This is clear evidence that while Kim Jong-un's regime wastes money on nuclear and missile development, the people of North Korea suffer from poor clothing and lack of basic necessities. The people of North Korea deserve to live in a dignified manner with at least some human rights, but the regime is ignoring them.

North Korea's recent practice of trash balloon terrorism is an uncivilized act that defies the modern era. The international community must take a clear stand and strongly condemn North Korea's dangerous behavior. The international community must never tolerate North Korea's behavior and must firmly hold the regime accountable and strongly demand that it abide by international law and humanitarian principles. The North Korean regime's behavior goes beyond the Korean Peninsula and is a threat to the common values of humanity. Therefore, despicable acts such as North Korea's sewage balloon terrorism require the international community to respond decisively and take appropriate measures for the sake of global peace and security.

Kim Ho-young,

North Korean defector and human rights activist