From the border capital of Paju, the Seoul based North Korean Peace Foundation has sent 1,000 pairs of socks via large helium balloons, hoping to lift the spirits and warm the toes of their northern neighbors. The borders are heavily patrolled by North Korea’s military focused regime.
“We’re not interested in sending political messages or sparking any troubles there. All we want is that people in the North wear warm socks over their frozen feet,” said spokeswoman Sunny Kim. “Warm socks are so rare and they can easily be traded for cash in the North. One pair of socks fetches about 22 pounds of corn, which is enough to sustain a person for a month.”
The North is impoverished by funneling the majority of its resources into its 1.2 million-strong armed forces under its “military-first” policy, Songun.
The group has been lofting such care packages for months, with socks and messages of love and hope. Though the messages are “politically innocuous,” they haven’t always been. Seoul has sent messages urging North Korea to revolt in the same manner as others in the Middle East and North Africa had last year. North Korean capitol Pyongyan has loudly denounced such incendiary messages, making no comments about the supplies and messages of hope that have also been sent, and has even threatened to open fire upon the launch sites.
Says Pyongyang, the Southern government has failed to respect the mourning period for Kim Jong Il, who died December 17.
The latest launch took place in Paju, South Korea, Saturday 28, 2012, at the Unification Observatory Post. Such socks are intended to offer some comfort to North Korea in the sub-zero temperatures. Other efforts, including the delivery of food and fertilizer, have been stopped by Seoul’s administration. Humanitarian deeds like the sock loft are permitted, but the government is moving from its previous “Sunshine Policy” to a more aggressive stance.