North Korea Sent Excrement Balloons South Korea Responds by Blasting BTS Hits

North Korea Sent Excrement Balloons South Korea Responds by Blasting BTS Hits

SEOUL—In a peculiar escalation of tensions, North Korea recently launched a series of balloon attacks filled with excrement and trash into South Korea. In response, South Korea decided to counteract with a unique form of psychological warfare: blasting the popular hits of the globally renowned boyband BTS.

On Sunday, a South Korean loudspeaker near the border played a local radio program called “Voice of Freedom,” operated by the Seoul military’s psychological warfare unit. The broadcast, which lasted for two hours, was loud enough to be heard by North Korean soldiers and border residents.

The program began with the South Korean national anthem, followed by news reports condemning North Korea’s missile tests and military cooperation with Russia. Then came the K-pop hits. Among the songs played was BTS’s 2020 hit “Dynamite,” a track that has garnered nearly 2 billion views on YouTube and topped the Billboard Hot 100 list. BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Bulletproof Boy Scouts,” has a massive global fanbase known as the “ARMY.” The song “Dynamite,” sung in English, features upbeat references to cultural icons like LeBron James, King Kong, and the Rolling Stones.

The lyrics, “So watch me bring the fire, and set the night alight,” echoed across the border, adding a musical twist to the ongoing standoff between the two Koreas. Despite technically being at war, neither Pyongyang nor Seoul has shown a clear intent for actual combat. Instead, they have resorted to unconventional methods to express their mutual discontent.

The bizarre exchange began late last month when North Korea sent over a thousand balloons filled with trash and excrement into South Korea. After a brief pause, a South Korean activist group retaliated by sending balloons carrying anti-regime leaflets and foreign media into North Korea. This prompted North Korea to resume its aerial campaign, leading to South Korea’s loudspeaker broadcast on Sunday.

The broadcast also included a mention of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics as a popular smartphone brand worldwide. Within hours, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a vocal critic of the U.S. and South Korea, issued a warning. She stated that there would be a “new counteraction” if the broadcasts continued, calling the situation a “prelude to a very dangerous situation.”

K-pop has long been a sensitive issue between the two Koreas. In 2015, after South Korea played songs by the girl group “Girls’ Generation” over loudspeakers, Kim Jong Un declared a “semi-war state” and ordered artillery shells to be fired near the border. However, during a period of warming relations three years later, a member of Girls’ Generation performed a North Korean song at an inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, attended by Kim Jong Un and his wife.

In 2018, the two Koreas signed a military accord aimed at reducing hostilities, which included South Korea dismantling around 40 loudspeakers. Despite this, South Korea has the capability to resume broadcasts at any moment. On Monday, no new broadcasts were made, but North Korean soldiers were seen preparing their own loudspeakers, according to Seoul’s military.

The situation remains tense, with both sides ready to escalate their unconventional warfare tactics. The use of BTS’s music as a form of psychological warfare highlights the unique and often bizarre nature of the ongoing conflict between North and South Korea.

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