North Koreans are in desperate need of warm socks and thanks to a few South Korean activists they could soon receive a shipment of socks delivered via balloon.
A group of activists in South Korea released huge gas-filled balloons filled tied to boxes of socks on Saturday, hoping that impoverished North Korean citizens will find them.
The AFP reports that socks are extremely valuable, and extremely rare, in North Korea.
The activists sent about 1000 pairs of socks in large plastic balloons despite threats from Pyongyang. South Koreans have sent leaflets denouncing the North Korean government in the past, but Sunny Kim, a spokeswoman for North Korea Peace, said that the socks were sent without any political messages. Kim said:
“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. Warm socks are so rare and they can easily be traded for cash in the North. One pair of socks fetches about 22 pounds (10 kilos) of corn, which is enough to sustain a person for a month.”
Here’s a video report from a balloon launch last month that saw thousands of leaflets cross the border into North Korea.
MSNBC reports that several of the South Korean activists are defectors from the North. Earlier this month the activists sent food via balloon. North Korea has threatened to open fire on activists trying to send supplies to the North.