South Korea re­sumes cross-border broad­casts

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

seoul, south korea» South Korea re­tal­i­ated for North Korea’s nu­clear test with broad­casts of anti-Py­ongyang pro­pa­ganda across the ri­val’s tense border Fri­day, be­lieved to be the birth­day of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The broad­casts will draw a fu­ri­ous re­sponse from North Korea, which con­sid­ers them an act of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare. Py­ongyang is ex­tremely sen­si­tive to any out­side crit­i­cism of the au­thor­i­tar­ian lead­er­ship of Kim, the third mem­ber of his fam­ily to rule. When South Korea briefly re­sumed pro­pa­ganda broad­casts in Au­gust af­ter an 11-year break, Seoul says the two Koreas ex­changed ar­tillery fire, fol­lowed by threats of war.

South Korea’s Yon­hap news agency re­ported that front­line troops, near 11 sites where pro­pa­ganda loud­speak­ers started blar­ing mes­sages at noon, were on high­est alert. Yon­hap said Seoul had de­ployed mis­siles, ar­tillery and other weapons sys­tems near the border to swiftly deal with any pos­si­ble North Korean provo­ca­tion. South Korea’s De­fense Min­istry couldn’t con­firm the re­ports. South Korean mil­i­tary banned for­eign me­dia from the border be­fore the broad­casts.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion by the North, but its re­sponse could be es­pe­cially harsh be­cause of the high emo­tions sur­round­ing the likely birth­day of Kim, who is be­lieved to be in his early 30s. North Korean mil­i­tary forces of­ten com­pete to show their loy­alty to the leader. The North’s state me­dia has yet to men­tion Kim’s birth­day or South Korea’s loud­speaker cam­paign.

The broad­casts in­clude pop­u­lar Korean pop songs, world news and weather fore­casts as well as crit­i­cism of the North’s nu­clear test, its trou­bled econ­omy and dire hu­man rights con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to Seoul’s De­fense Min­istry. In­cluded are songs by a young fe­male singer, IU, whose sweet, girl­ish voice might be aimed at North Korean sol­diers de­ployed near the border.

Au­gust’s broad­casts, which be­gan af­ter Seoul blamed Py­ongyang for land mine ex­plo­sions that maimed two South Korean sol­diers, stopped only af­ter the ri­vals agreed on a set of mea­sures aimed at eas­ing anger.

A South Korean pro­tester burns de­faced pic­tures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dur­ing a rally in Seoul on Thurs­day. Ahn Young-joon, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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