North Korea sending balloons carrying trash to South Korea

The South Korean military says North Korea has flown large numbers of balloons carrying objects, including trash and waste, into South Korea. The move appears to be in retaliation against South Korean activists' sending balloons with anti-Pyongyang leaflets the other way.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday that the North has been flying the balloons toward the South since Tuesday night. They said some of the balloons have been found in Seoul and areas close to the border with North Korea.

Released photos show balloons with plastic bags attached and trash scattered on the ground. The South Korean military said trash was inside the bags. Local media said what appeared to be manure was also included in the waste.

About 200 balloons have reportedly been found so far. The military's anti-chemical and biological warfare team, as well as an explosive ordnance unit, have been mobilized to inspect and collect the objects.

Expressing worries about possible damage to airports and motorways, the South Korean military warned the North to immediately stop what it called vulgar act.

On May 10, North Korean defectors in South Korea flew balloons carrying leaflets critical of Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong Un toward the North.

In response, North Korea's vice defense minister said in a statement issued over the weekend that "mounds of wastepaper and filth" would be scattered over border areas in the South in a tit-for-tat action, adding that Seoul will learn how laborious it is to clear them.