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South continues loudspeaker psyops

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<span>A North Korean border post is seen behind a South Korean post on the western inter-Korean border, Friday. / Yonhap</span><br /><br />
A North Korean border post is seen behind a South Korean post on the western inter-Korean border, Friday. / Yonhap

By Kang Seung-woo

Despite North Korea's threats to attack loudspeakers along the border, South Korea continued broadcasting propaganda Friday.

According to the military, it aired the messages across the border from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and did so again for four hours in the afternoon.

After the exchange of fire between the two Koreas, the Kim Jong-un regime threatened to take military action unless the South Korean government stopped the propaganda and dismantled the speakers by 5 p.m. Saturday.

"We plan to go ahead with the propaganda broadcasts if the North does not apologize for its attacks and punish those responsible," Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo told lawmakers during a parliamentary session.

In the wake of the North's landmine attack in the Demilitarized Zone that seriously injured two South Korean soldiers on Aug. 4, the South demanded that the North make an apology for the attack and punish those in charge of the provocation. However, with no action from the North, the defense ministry resumed broadcasting propaganda into the North on Aug. 10, for the first time in 11 years.

The South Korean military is running loudspeakers at 11 sites along the border and recently brought mobile speakers into use.

The audio message can travel some 10 kilometers into Gaeseong in the daytime and 24 kilometers at night.

The messages critical of the North Korean dictator and its political system are part of a psychological warfare program and Pyongyang has reacted sensitively to such tactics, apparently concerned about the possible effect it might have on its military and people.

"The North has taken actions to prevent the South's propaganda messages from reaching its soldiers near the border because they can weaken military discipline," said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute.

As Seoul is set to reject the North's ultimatum, the ministry said the reclusive country may take additional provocative action after the deadline.

"There is a possibility of North Korea launching provocations of a certain kind after 5:00 p.m.," Defense Minister Han Min-koo said during an emergency meeting with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Choi Yun-hee and military commanders.

He also called for them to respond resolutely to any attacks from the North.

The vice minister said that loudspeakers could be the main target of the North's potential attack.

The South's military is maintaining its top-level vigilance posture to deal sternly with any kinds of attacks by the North, according to the defense ministry.

Kang Seung-woo


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