Trashing the Enemy

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea likes to call South Korea a land of “political filth” and its leaders, including President Park Geun-hye, “human trash.” Now, apparently to highlight its contempt, it has begun sending balloons into the South loaded with an unusual payload, the police here said on Thursday: cigarette butts.

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The South turned on high-powered loudspeakers to blare pop songs and harsh criticism of the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, across the border. The North began sending balloons into the South loaded with leaflets.

The balloons were timed to detonate their payloads, scattering thousands of messages that, among other things, called Ms. Park a “filthy president.”

Some of the timers failed to function, however, and the airborne cargo crashed onto rooftops and cars in South Korean villages near the border. Inspecting the debris, military and police personnel discovered that the balloons’ payloads included things they had not seen before.

“We can confirm that they included cigarette butts,” Kim Hak-young, a chief superintendent of the police, said Thursday, though he declined to provide any details.

The police and the Defense Ministry until Thursday had refused to confirm a news report earlier in the week that some North Korean balloons were carrying trash, including used toilet paper.

North Korea Launches Newest Offensive: Cigarette Butts, The New York Times (Feb. 4, 2016).

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