Weird New Propaganda War: North Korea Lapel Pins
Meanwhile, Pyongyang says it's being attacked by snakes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2016 9:01 AM CDT
A knock-off lapel pin.   (eBay)

(Newser) – North Korea has apparently kicked off a new propaganda war ahead of planned war games between the US and South Korea next month. South Korea says its military found hundreds of propaganda leaflets floating down a river near the border last week, boasting that the North won the Korean War and threatening missile attacks, reports the AP. Some 200 flag-shaped lapel pins featuring a photo of Kim Jong Il were also discovered in a hotel flowerbed near Incheon International Airport on Thursday, reports Stars and Stripes. These are no ordinary pins: As Atlas Obscura explains, they're a patriotic symbol distributed by North Korea's Workers' Party to be worn by all adults on the left side of the chest. Some say Kim Jong Un's wife disappeared after failing to wear one in public.

Other versions feature Kim Il Sung, and a rare few show both former leaders. These are only given to high-ranking government officials and military leaders, though ordinary citizens can get a knock-off version from China on the black market. North Koreans were even using the pins in place of cash before the Workers' Party made it illegal. Police are investigating how the pins got into the flowerbed as possession of such items is illegal in South Korea, but say they may have arrived via a propaganda balloon. Meanwhile, Pyongyang accuses the South of releasing snakes across the border "as part of a 'cunning scheme' to challenge our unity," reports the Guardian. A diplomat also promises action if the war games go ahead as planned, noting the US "crossed the red line" when putting Kim on a sanctions list.