NATIONAL

Seoul said to have softened anti-North loudspeaker broadcasts during Olympics

By Yonhap
  • Published : Feb 18, 2018 - 11:34
  • Updated : Feb 18, 2018 - 11:34

South Korea appears to be toning down its loudspeaker-based propaganda broadcasts against North Korea in light of cross-border relations improved on the occasion of the PyeongChang Olympics, informed lawmakers and officials said Sunday.

The two Koreas are known to have long resorted to propaganda broadcasts using loudspeakers installed near the heavily fortified border to condemn each other's political and social systems.

As part of its psychological warfare campaign, the South Korean military has employed cross-border loudspeaker broadcasts carrying anti-North Korea messages, which include the South's economic achievements, the benefits of liberal democracy and the dire human rights situation in the North.

Loudspeakers near the Gyeonggi border (Yonhap)

Recently, however, the South's military has reportedly changed the content of its anti-North loudspeaker broadcasts and inserted news on the PyeongChang Winter Olympics into its programs, according to Rep. Kim Hack-yong of the Liberty Korea Party and Rep. Lee Cheol-hee of the Democratic Party.

The latest move is seen as part of efforts to ease cross-border tension and prevent incidental clashes between the two Koreas particularly during the Winter Olympics.

The two lawmakers told Yonhap News Agency that the length of news programs in the anti-North loudspeaker broadcasts has increased from two minutes to five minutes to deliver more news on the Olympics in South Korea's alpine town of PyeongChang.

Details of the news on the two Koreas' joint march in the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympics and the formation of a unified women's hockey team were reportedly delivered through the loudspeakers.

The broadcasts also mentioned the South Korean visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, and a North Korean orchestra's concerts in Gangneung and Seoul.

Due to the increased volume on the news on inter-Korean cooperation, the South Korean military is likely to have scaled down propaganda broadcasts condemning the Kim Jong-un regime and promoting the South Korean systems.

In this regard, a military official in charge of the anti-North psychological warfare campaign said, "The volume and broadcast time of the loudspeakers have not been changed," while refusing to confirm whether news on the South Korean visit by Kim Yo-jong was broadcast or not.

At present, the South maintains about 30 sets of broadcasting loudspeakers along the border, while the North has similar devices.

In July, the Moon Jae-in government proposed the two Koreas halt the loudspeaker broadcasts, but the North has yet to respond.

Earlier, the South removed all of the border loudspeakers in 2004 during the liberal government of then-President Roh Moo-hyun. But Seoul resumed the anti-North loudspeaker broadcasts in 2015 in response to the North's land mine attacks on South Korean soldiers. (Yonhap)