South Korea bans balloon launches into North Korea

By December 16, 2020

South Korea (MNN) — The government of South Korea has officially banned the practice of launching balloons into North Korea. The resolution passed only after opposing politicians tried to stop the process with a filibuster. It’s the first law of its kind; South Korean activists often take advantage of favorable winds to get leaflets or even money across the border. Read more about the situation here.

The photo shows South Korean activists releasing balloons in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Many worry this law could infringe on the freedom of speech in the country. Eric Foley of Voice of the Martyrs Korea explains. “On the one hand, the legislators who passed it say, ‘Well, no, this is really narrowly focused to make sure the people who will be penalized are people who put Korean South Korean citizens’ lives in danger through balloon launching.’ But on the other hand, the language itself of the law is quite broad. And in fact, as numerous analysts have pointed out, it actually criminalizes things that are very difficult to prosecute: for example, the intent to launch balloons.”

Using balloons to spread the Gospel

Christians have often used balloon launching to get the Gospel into North Korea, but recently South Korean authorities have been stopping them. Foley sees this new law as an admission that no previous laws banned balloon launches. Read more about Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s operation here and here.

Foley even faces charges for his past balloon launches. “As a person who’s being prosecuted, I want people to understand I’m not worried. I believe that there’s much more going on here than legislative power. I think God’s hand is at work, I know God’s hand is at work. And that’s why I have a deep peace about this.”

“Today, the most important thing that we can do is not to protest a new balloon law. Instead, it’s to continue to get the Gospel into North Korea.”

Pray God would strengthen Christian brothers and sisters in North Korea, and pray that many more would come to embrace Jesus as Lord.

And remember Foley as he faces charges for launching balloons. Pray God would comfort him during this time.



The header photo shows a South Korean outpost at the Demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. (Johannes Barre, iGEL, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

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