South Korean authorities have recently announced their intent to introduce new laws that would bar activists from launching propaganda leaflets across the border to North Korea after Pyongyang threatened to scrap an inter-Korean military agreement made back in 2018.
While South Korean police officers are sometimes dispatched to block such activities "during sensitive times", as AP puts it, Seoul never fully banned them, arguing that the activists were merely exercising their freedoms.
This apparent shift in attitude comes after Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean head of state Kim Jong-un, declared that the defectors involved in said balloon launches are "human scum" and "mongrel dogs" who betrayed their homeland, and that it was "time to bring their owners to account", with the media outlet describing the latter as a reference to the government in Seoul.
Yoh Sang-key, spokesman of South Korea's Unification Ministry, argued that the balloon launches threaten the safety of the residents living in the border area, and that the government will seek legal changes that would "fundamentally resolve tension-creating activities".
"We will substitute our evaluation (of the North Korean) statement with the announcement of the government position (on the issue)", Yoh said regarding whether the ministry would specifically express regret over Pyongyang's threat to abandon the agreement in question.
An anonymous official from Seoul's presidential office also said that the balloons do "all harm, no good" and that the government will "sternly respond" to activities threatening security, as quoted by AP.
Kim Yo-jong entered the media spotlight last month amid rumors and speculations about her brother's well-being, while American basketball star Dennis Rodman advised keeping an eye on her as she's allegedly next in line.
"If you see his sister on TV running the country, now you know something is wrong", Rodman remarked in an interview with Good Morning Britain.