Defectors group in S.Korea sets COVID-aid balloons aloft near N.Korea

A group of defectors from North Korea living in South Korea say they have launched balloons carrying masks, medicine and vitamin pills toward the North to help people there fight the coronavirus.

The group said on Tuesday that it set 20 balloons aloft in the city of Pocheon in South Korea's northern region on Sunday. They described their aim as providing people in the North with 20,000 masks, 15,000 anti-fever pills and 30,000 vitamin tablets.

The group stressed their determination to act given the surge in suspected coronavirus infections in the North. It criticized the leadership in Pyongyang for not responding to South Korea's offer of vaccine doses and other assistance while continuing ballistic-missile launches.

The group has flown leaflets criticizing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un across the border to the North multiple times.

Its leaflet campaign in 2020 was followed by North Korea's decision to blow up an inter-Korean liaison office that was seen as a symbol of reconciliation.