North Korea flies balloons carrying poop, trash over South Korea

North Korea has flown hundreds of balloons carrying trash and manure toward South Korea, prompting the South’s military to mobilize chemical and explosive response teams to recover objects and debris in different parts of the country.

The South’s military said about 260 North Korean balloons were found in various parts of the country as of Wednesday afternoon and were being recovered. 

The military said the balloons contained various types of trash and manure but so far they had not found human excrement. They advised civilians not to touch the objects from North Korea and to report to the military or police after discovering them.

In a statement issued over the weekend, North Korean Vice Defense Minister Kim Kang Il said the North was planning to scatter "mounds of wastepaper and filth" over border areas and other parts of South Korea, in what he described as "tit-for-tat" retaliation against South Korean activists for flying anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets across the border.


FILE: North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un (Credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Photos released by the South Korean military showed trash scattered across highways and roads in different parts of the country. 

In the capital, Seoul, military officials found what appeared to be a timer that was likely designed to pop the bags of trash midair. In the central South Chungcheong province, two huge balloons carrying an un-popped plastic bag filled with dirt-like substances were seen at a road.

North Korean rocket with second spy satellite fails

The balloon campaign comes just two days after a North Korean rocket carrying its second spy satellite failed and exploded midair.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has urged his military scientists to continue developing space-based reconnaissance capabilities, which he described as crucial for countering U.S. and South Korean military activities, state media said Wednesday.

RELATED: North Korea says rocket carrying spy satellite explodes, fails

In his first public comments about the launch failure, Kim also warned of unspecified "overwhelming actions" against South Korea over an exercise involving 20 fighter jets near the inter-Korean border hours before North Korea’s failed launch on Monday.

In a speech Tuesday, Kim described the South Korean response as a "hysterical attack formation flight and strike drill" and "direct military challenge" toward North Korea, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.