Dozens of North Korean defectors gathered on Ganghwa Island, Incheon on Tuesday to toss some 700 plastic bottles into the sea, each filled with 1 kg of rice and a USB stick in the hope that they will wash up in North Korea.
The USB stick contains South Korean entertainment and news programs and K-pop songs. The bottles also contained worm tablets, ointment and a U.S. dollar bill. U.S. dollars are exchanged at five to eight times the official rate in North Korean street markets.
About a dozen police officers who arrived at the scene did not stop them despite an agreement between the two Koreas last Friday to halt their propaganda war.
The South Korean military has already dismantled massive walls of loudspeakers that blared propaganda across the border, but activists seem determined to ignore the agreement.
"Delicious food was served for lunch at the latest inter-Korean summit even as many North Koreans were starving to death," said Kim Yong-hwa of the NK Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea. "We floated the plastic bottles for them."
The conservative U.S. activist Suzanne Scholte said no mention was made at Friday's inter-Korean summit about the North Korean regime's crimes against humanity.
"North Korea's threats with nuclear weapons and missiles, its sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, and its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island are clearly acts of hostility," said Park Sang-hak of Fighters for Free North Korea. "We're sending materials to the North using tidal currents, which is a peaceful act."
The activists are also determined to float their usual balloons with propaganda leaflets across the border on Saturday. A Unification Ministry official called on the activists to desist and respect the agreement.
The Defense Ministry started removing the loudspeakers from the demilitarized zone on Tuesday afternoon. Some 40 permanent and 10 mobile sound systems will be removed.
The ministry already stopped propaganda broadcasts on April 23, four days ahead of the inter-Korean summit. "The North Korean Army has been seen removing its frontline loudspeakers since this morning," a military spokesman said Tuesday.
The leaders of the two Koreas agreed at the truce village of Panmunjom last Friday to "completely cease all hostile acts and eliminate their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the military demarcation line."
U.S. activist Suzanne Scholte (right) throws a plastic bottle full of rice on its way to North Korea on Ganghwa Island, Incheon on Tuesday.
Soldiers remove loudspeakers at a border outpost in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday.