South Korean Balloons Head North With ... Socks

Activists say it's about warm feet, not politics
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2012 9:13 AM CST
The balloons are on their way to the North.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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(Newser) – Another sign of just how bad things have gotten in North Korea: Activists in the South sent balloons skyward today carrying a hot black-market item: warm socks. Members of North Korea Peace tell AFP it's not about politics. "All we want is that people in the North wear warm socks over their frozen feet," says a spokeswoman.

"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." About 1,000 pairs went up over the border. On a more formal front, the North allowed in trucks from the South carrying food—even as it threatened "full-scale war" over Seoul's military exercises, notes the New York Times. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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