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Pyongyang expands loudspeaker propaganda

North Korea has started broadcasting its own loudspeaker propaganda across the border in response to Seoul’s resumption of its own similar campaign following Pyongyang’s hydrogen bomb test, officials said Monday. 

“The North Korean military is broadcasting (a loudspeaker campaign toward the South) at multiple locations,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters. The broadcasts reportedly include messages promoting its leader Kim Jong-un and criticism of President Park Geun-hye.

Though the reclusive regime’s loudspeakers are too outdated to blare the message into the South, some cross-borders residents, such as those living on Gwanghwado Island, reportedly heard messages such as, “The power of the people and the military with a hydrogen bomb is unmatched.”

Given that the North’s loudspeakers are not clearly audible — they were said to make buzzing sounds — sources said that the loudspeaker campaign would also serve as a distraction for its own residents from anti-regime propaganda, such as the smearing of Kim Jong-un.

Compared to the South’s devices, whose sound output can reach as far as 20 kilometers beyond the border, the North’s sound output is said to be half that. The North’s loudspeakers were also said to be vulnerable to power outages. 

Marines in Gwanghwa island patrol along the cross-border region. Yonhap
Marines in Gwanghwa island patrol along the cross-border region. Yonhap

“North Korea has employed moveable loudspeaker equipment. They can broadcast simultaneously both into the South and the North. It could be effective in offsetting the broadcast from the South,” a ministry official told The Korea Herald under the condition of anonymity.

The South has been continuing its loudspeaker broadcasts since Friday, when they resumed it following the nuclear test. Seoul had halted the psychological campaign since last August upon the inter-Korean agreement that was reached after Pyongyang’s land mine attack earlier in the month.

Under the deal, South Korea agreed to suspend the loudspeaker broadcasts “unless any abnormal situation takes place.” The North had called the broadcast a threat to its regime as they contrast the North’s economic suffering with the South’s achievements in democracy and economy.

“Under the Aug. 25 agreement, we are entitled to resume the loudspeaker campaign if the North engages in abnormal activities,” spokesman Kim said in a media interview.

“I think we should continue the campaign until the North corrects its violations. The longer we do, the more powerful (the campaign) will get,” said Kim. 

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)

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