April 01, 2023

Why balloons could be the next weapon in North Korea’s ever-expanding arsenal

Incidents involving Chinese and DPRK balloons highlight how they can pose threats in multi-domain conflict, expert says

As the U.S. grapples with the flight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the mainland last week, the news that a North Korean balloon drifted into South Korea on Sunday has raised new questions about the capabilities Pyongyang could attain by investing in advanced balloon technology. 

Balloons may appear innocuous as tools of war, but they present many advantages for countries like North Korea. Seoul’s defense ministry told NK News this particular balloon did not pose a security threat, but according to Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based lecturer in international relations at Troy University, incidents like these fit into a “bigger picture” of new emerging security domains.