Seoul Blares Propaganda on Kim Jong Un's Birthday

Broadcasts expected to draw furious response from North
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2016 5:04 AM CST
Seoul Blares Propaganda on Kim Jong Un's Birthday
South Korean army soldiers adjust equipment used for propaganda broadcasts near the border area between South Korea and North Korea in Yeoncheon, South Korea, on Friday.   (Lim Tae-hoon/Newsis via AP)

(Newser) – As world leaders debated ways to penalize North Korea's claim of an H-bomb test, South Korea voiced its displeasure with broadcasts of anti-Pyongyang propaganda across the rivals' tense border Friday, believed to be the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The broadcasts will likely 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 local time were on highest alert. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Friday asked South Korea to refrain from the propaganda broadcasts. But South Korea sees K-pop and propaganda as quick ways to show its displeasure—and a guaranteed way to get a rise from the North's sensitive and proud leadership. The broadcasts include 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. (China is furious about its ally's latest test.)

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