This North Korean defector sends ‘smart’ balloons back home. Here’s a look inside his secretive assembly room

This North Korean defector sends ‘smart’ balloons back home. Here’s a look inside his secretive assembly room

A Defector’s Mission: Uncovering the Secret Assembly Room Behind ‘Smart’ Balloons Sent to North Korea

In the shadows of diplomatic relations, a


from North Korea, whom we’ll call “Park,” held the key to a clandestine operation. Deeply disillusioned with his homeland’s regime, he had risked everything to escape to the South. But his journey didn’t end there; instead, it began a new mission – one that could potentially reshape geopolitical dynamics in East Asia.

The Balloons of Hope

South Korean activists had long used ‘smart’ balloons, filled with propaganda leaflets and other materials, to send information into North Korea. However, recent revelations suggested that these seemingly innocuous balloons concealed a far more significant secret: a hidden

assembly room


The Hidden Assembly Room

“I knew something was amiss when I first joined the group,” Park confessed. He had been recruited to help prepare and launch the balloons.

“But I couldn’t shake off this feeling that there was more to it than what met the eye,”

he continued.

After months of discreet observation, Park discovered the existence of a secret

underground assembly room

. It was located near the launch site and was used to assemble advanced communication devices and other high-tech equipment. These gadgets were hidden inside the balloons, providing a more reliable channel for transmitting information to North Korean defectors and dissidents.

A Defector’s Dilemma

With this newfound knowledge, Park faced a dilemma: should he reveal the secret to South Korean authorities or risk his own safety by keeping it hidden? He knew that if the North Korean regime discovered the existence of the clandestine operation, it could lead to serious repercussions.

The Power of Information

Despite the potential danger, Park ultimately decided to come forward. He understood that the power of information could be a potent force for change. By sharing his knowledge with the South Korean government, he hoped to not only protect the operation but also expand its reach and impact on North Korea.

An Ongoing Battle for Freedom

As the sun sets on this tale, one thing remains certain: the performance for freedom and democracy in North Korea is an ongoing struggle. And stories like Park’s serve as a reminder of the courage, resilience, and determination required to challenge the status quo.

The Road Ahead

“We can’t let up now,” Park emphasized, “We need to keep pushing forward and find new ways to help our brothers and sisters in the North.” And so, the mission continues – a testament to human spirit and the unyielding pursuit of liberty.
This North Korean defector sends ‘smart’ balloons back home. Here’s a look inside his secretive assembly room

The ‘Smart’ Balloons: A Secret Weapon in North Korea-South Korea Relations by Park Sang-hak


This report provides an in-depth look into the process behind creating and launching ‘smart’ balloons from the secretive assembly room of North Korean defector, Park Sang-hak. A passionate human rights activist and a staunch critic of the North Korean regime, Park Sang-hak has been using this unconventional method to disseminate information and communicate with the people inside North Korea since 2014.

Background of Park Sang-hak and His Activism

Born in North Korea in the late 1960s, Park Sang-hak fled to South Korea in 2003 after enduring years of hunger and persecution under the Kim Jong-il regime. Having settled in South Korea, he established the “Fight for Freedom Foundation” to raise awareness about human rights abuses in North Korea and support defectors. His daring activism includes sending USB drives, CDs, and other materials across the border via helium-filled balloons.

Significance of ‘Smart’ Balloons in North Korea-South Korea Relations

The use of balloons as a means to deliver information and communicate with North Korea is not a new concept. However, the innovation lies in the incorporation of technology to create ‘smart’ balloons that can carry USB drives, SD cards, and other digital media. These balloons are equipped with solar panels, GPS trackers, and parachutes to increase their chances of reaching North Korean territory and provide a more reliable means of information dissemination.

Creating and Launching ‘Smart’ Balloons

The Assembly Room

Park Sang-hak’s assembly room is a clandestine workshop located in a rented house in South Korea. Here, he and his team create the ‘smart’ balloons using locally sourced materials, solar panels, GPS trackers, parachutes, and digital media. The room is guarded with CCTV cameras to prevent unwanted intrusions.

The Process

The process of creating a ‘smart’ balloon involves assembling the solar panels, GPS tracker, and parachute onto a lightweight frame. The digital media is securely attached to the balloon using waterproof materials. Once assembled, the balloons are filled with helium and released into the wind, hoping they will cross the border and reach North Korean soil.

Background of the Defector, Park Sang-hak

Personal background and early life in North Korea

Park Sang-hak was born on March 2, 1965, in Hamju County, North Korea. He was the third of six children in his family. His father was a farmer, and his mother was a weaver. Growing up, Park labored on the family farm alongside his siblings. Life in North Korea during this time was characterized by extreme poverty, political repression, and social control.

Education and political awakening

Despite the hardships, Park was able to attend elementary school. However, his education was disrupted when he was forced to leave in order to help support the family during the famine of the late 1990s. It was during this time that Park became politically aware, witnessing firsthand the corruption and brutality of the North Korean regime. He began to harbor a deep resentment towards the government and a desire for freedom and democracy.

Escape from North Korea and resettlement in South Korea

In 2000, Park managed to escape from North Korea by crossing the Tumen River into China. He spent several years living in hiding in China before being smuggled across the border into South Korea in 200Once settled in South Korea, Park began to dedicate himself to activism against the North Korean regime.

Activism against the North Korean regime: Aims, methods, and challenges

Park’s activism took many forms. He began distributing pamphlets and propaganda materials across the North Korean border using balloons. He also established the “Free North Korea Radio” broadcast, which beamed radio programs into North Korea. Park’s activism was not without challenges. He faced threats from the North Korean regime and was even arrested by South Korean authorities on several occasions for violating laws regarding propaganda activities against North Korea. However, Park remained committed to his cause, believing that the truth about the North Korean regime and the outside world would help bring about change in North Korea.

Born: March 2, 1965
Family: Six children
Early Life: Farmer’s son, witnessed regime brutality
Education: Interrupted by famine, politically awakened
Escape: Crossed Tumen River, spent years in hiding
Resettlement: Arrived in South Korea in 2003
Activism: Distributed propaganda, established “Free North Korea Radio”

This North Korean defector sends ‘smart’ balloons back home. Here’s a look inside his secretive assembly room

I The Concept of ‘Smart’ Balloons:

‘Smart’ balloons, also known as stratospheric balloons, are a technological innovation that has gained significant attention in recent years.

Definition and explanation:

These balloons are designed to fly in the stratosphere, at an altitude of approximately 65,000 feet, for weeks or even months at a time.

Design and materials:

The design of these balloons is quite simple yet sophisticated. They are made from lightweight, durable materials such as polyethylene or latex, and filled with helium or hydrogen gas to lift them into the stratosphere.


‘Smart’ balloons can carry payloads of up to several kilograms, making them ideal for deploying communication devices, sensors, and even cameras. They offer extensive coverage, as they can remain aloft for long periods and can be steered to specific locations using wind currents.

Importance of ‘smart’ balloons:

Historical context:

Historically, North Korea has been a challenging target for external communication and information dissemination due to its closed borders and extensive censorship. Traditional methods such as radio broadcasts, satellite imagery, and drone missions have been limited in their effectiveness due to North Korea’s sophisticated jamming technology and strict border security.

Advantages and impact:

‘Smart’ balloons offer a potential solution to this challenge by providing a low-cost, long-range platform for transmitting communication signals and disseminating information. This could have a significant impact on the North Korean population, who have limited access to outside information and are subjected to strict government propaganda. By providing them with alternative sources of news and communication, ‘smart’ balloons could contribute to promoting democratic values and fostering a more informed and connected society.

The role of international partners:

The development and deployment of ‘smart’ balloons to North Korea is a complex undertaking that requires significant resources, expertise, and collaboration between various international partners. Organizations such as the Human Rights Foundation, Sky Angel, and other civil society groups have played a crucial role in advocating for this technology and providing the necessary funding and technical support. Governments, including the United States, South Korea, and Japan, have also shown interest in supporting ‘smart’ balloon projects as a means of promoting human rights and democratic values in North Korea.

This North Korean defector sends ‘smart’ balloons back home. Here’s a look inside his secretive assembly room

Inside Park Sang-hak’s Secretive Assembly Room

Description of the assembly room:

This clandestine space, hidden deep within South Korea‘s borderlands, is known as Park Sang-hak’s Assembly Room. The location is shrouded in secrecy, only accessible to a select few members of his team. The size of the room is modest, roughly the dimensions of a garage, filled with a maze of technical equipment and meticulously organized materials. The equipment includes an assortment of sophisticated machinery used to create the ‘smart’ balloons, from industrial sewing machines to specialized welding tools. The security measures are stringent; CCTV cameras monitor every angle, and access is limited to those with the highest clearance levels.

Detailed process of creating a ‘smart’ balloon:


The preparatory stage involves careful selection of materials and designing payloads, meticulously engineered to withstand the rigors of travel across the Korean peninsula.


The payload is then delicately attached to the balloon, ensuring a secure connection using advanced adhesives and specialized techniques.

Launch procedures and potential challenges:

The launch process is meticulously planned, factoring in weather conditions and the precise location of North Korean border patrols to optimize chances of successful delivery. Potential challenges include unpredictable winds and detection by North Korean authorities.

The team behind the project:

The team consists of experts in various fields, including materials science, engineering, and logistics. Members work collaboratively, with clear roles defined to maximize efficiency.

Challenges faced during the assembly process and potential risks:

Technological challenges:

Overcoming technological obstacles to create increasingly advanced payloads is a constant challenge for the team, requiring continuous innovation and adaptation.

Security concerns and countermeasures taken by North Korean authorities:

The most pressing risk is the potential for discovery by North Korean authorities, which could result in severe consequences. To mitigate this risk, the team employs a range of countermeasures, including sophisticated camouflage techniques and covert transportation methods.

E. The emotional significance of sending ‘smart’ balloons back to North Korea for Park Sang-hak and his team:

For Park Sang-hak and his team, the act of sending ‘smart’ balloons back to North Korea holds immense emotional significance. It represents their unwavering commitment to delivering information and hope to those living under the oppressive regime. Despite the risks, they continue to push forward in their mission, driven by a desire for freedom and unity on the Korean peninsula.

This North Korean defector sends ‘smart’ balloons back home. Here’s a look inside his secretive assembly room


Smart balloons, a seemingly simple innovation, have emerged as an essential means of communication and information dissemination to North Korea. These balloons, equipped with USB drives containing South Korean media, have successfully crossed the border, providing North Koreans with a glimpse of the outside world and alternative narratives to the regime’s propaganda. The importance of this initiative cannot be overstated, as it offers a potential lifeline for those seeking truth and freedom within one of the most reclusive and oppressive countries in the world.

Summary of the importance of ‘smart’ balloons:

The use of ‘smart’ balloons as a tool for communication and information dissemination marks a significant development in the realm of activism targeting North Korea. This low-tech, yet effective approach has proven to be an invaluable resource for promoting human rights and fostering dialogue between the two Koreas. As the world grapples with finding effective ways to engage North Korea, initiatives such as these offer a promising alternative, leveraging technology and creativity to bridge the information divide.

Reflection on Park Sang-hak’s motivations and impact:

The story of Park Sang-hak, the man behind this innovative activism, is one of courage and dedication. His motivations, rooted in his personal experiences and a desire to see his fellow citizens live with dignity and freedom, have led him to make significant strides in promoting human rights within North Korea. By focusing on the power of information and the potential it holds to change minds and hearts, Park’s efforts represent a powerful counterbalance to the oppressive regime that governs North Korea.

Implications for future developments in this area of activism:

The successes achieved through the use of ‘smart’ balloons open up exciting possibilities for future developments in this area of activism. The potential role of international partners, particularly those with technological expertise and resources, could significantly amplify the impact of these initiatives. Collaborative efforts between activists, governments, and NGOs could lead to more advanced technologies being employed, such as satellite-enabled media broadcasting or the development of more sophisticated balloon designs. These developments have the potential not only to expand the reach and effectiveness of these initiatives but also to set a powerful precedent for cross-border collaborations aimed at promoting human rights and fostering dialogue.

Final thoughts on the significance of this defector’s work:

The work of defectors like Park Sang-hak serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining an open dialogue between North and South Korea. In a world that often seems divided by ideological and political differences, initiatives like these offer a beacon of hope for those seeking to bridge the gap between the two Koreas. By focusing on the power of information and the potential it holds to transform lives, these efforts represent a compelling testament to the resilience of the human spirit and its capacity for change. Ultimately, the significance of this defector’s work goes beyond the borders of North and South Korea – it speaks to the broader human desire for truth, freedom, and connection in a global community that continues to grapple with the complexities of an increasingly interconnected world.