About the Author
View more articles by JH Ahn
JH Ahn was an NK News contributor based in Seoul. He previously worked as an interpreter for United States Forces Korea.
Update 08/01/2016, 4.19PM: Late on Friday afternoon, Yonhap reported North Korea is broadcasting its own propaganda in the hopes of drowning out the ongoing South Korean broadcasts.
While the content of North Korea’s broadcast has not been revealed to public, NK News previously reported that the radio broadcasts from the North are mainly to ensure North Korean citizens and soldiers do not hear the South’s speakers.
South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) has announced its plan to use six new mobile loudspeakers along with fixed loudspeakers to broadcast propaganda at the North.
The ministry also added their plan to use only mobile loudspeakers on Gyodong Island, only 2.5 kilometers from North Korean shores. Gyodong Island, one of South Korea’s northernmost islands, is close enough to swim across, as two North Koreans reached it to defect to the South in 2014.
The South Korean military announced on Thursday evening that they will resume the broadcast starting noon Friday, 136 days after they were halted by the August 25 Agreement.
South Korean media have reported the MND is planning to play two to six hours of the latest K-pop songs daily, including Apink’s “Just Let Us Love” and G-Friend’s “Me Gustas Tu,” along with Voice Of Freedom, the South Korean government owned propaganda radio program.
As part of its August broadcasts, the MND played Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang” and Girl’s Generation’s “Tell Me your Wish (Genie)” as well.
The residents of the islands have expressed fear of North Korean bombardment as a countermeasure to stop the broadcasts, the MND has decided to use only mobile loudspeakers on this occasion.
“We strongly urge South Korean Defense to move the loudspeakers somewhere else,” said one island resident demonstrating in front of the MND in August, Hankook Ilbo’s reported.
“Without the help of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to pinpoint the location of mobile loudspeakers, North Korea’s only way to locate them would be relying on visual identification, which is quite inaccurate,” a civilian military adviser to South Korea’s National Defense Committee told NK News on condition of anonymity.
A civilian military adviser between South Korea and international authorities mentioned the mobile speakers are still sitting-ducks during broadcast hours.
“Despite the speaker being called mobile, the speakers are not constantly movable,” said the adviser.
“They are only called mobile as they can be quickly installed in any area the MND wishes. Even the mobile loudspeakers will have to be fixed-in during the broadcasting hours, which make them sitting ducks during the operation.”
While the tension is rising, one anonymous MND source told Yonhap that North Korea’s front-line troops are reinforcing their defenses along the border.
Featured image: ROKMND Official Flickr