North Korea tried to shoot down balloons carrying money and propaganda from South Korean activists today, leading to an exchange in gunfire between the two countries.
Here’s the Reuters video of South Korean activists launching ten balloons with 200,000 anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North Korean border village of Paju. They also included “400 DVDs and 300 books about life in South Korea, as well as $1,000 in cash,” according to The Verge.
The balloon drop came on the 69th anniversary of North Korea’s ruling Workers Party, a celebration from which North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un was absent. Vice reported on Oct. 2 that Kim been deposed and that a coup is underway; however, Reuters sources refuted that claim this week, saying Kim is still in control but recuperating from a leg injury.
The balloon drop and the exchange of fire—which happens occasionally over a disputed maritime border but less often on land—may threaten talks (paywall) set to begin in Seoul on Oct. 11. North Korean stability is a national security priority for both China and South Korea since the collapse of the Kim regime could prompt floods of refugees to either country.
Activists in the southern nation, including North Korean defectors, have used helium balloons to get their message across the border in the past.