North Korea installs loudspeakers along border, South Korea says

  • South Korea’s military said it suspected North Korea of ​​installing its own loudspeakers along its border after the South broadcast anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts over its loudspeakers.
  • It is the latest development in a series of escalations in which North Korea has sent more than 1,000 balloons containing trash and manure to the South.
  • The United States and South Korea met to discuss nuclear deterrence strategies aimed at countering growing threats from North Korea.

South Korea’s military said Monday it had detected signs that North Korea was setting up its own loudspeakers along its heavily armed border, a day after the South broadcast anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts on its speakers for the first time in years as the rivals engage in the Cold War. -style of psychological warfare.

The South’s resumption of its loudspeaker broadcasts on Sunday was in retaliation for the North’s sending of more than 1,000 balloons filled with trash and manure over the past two weeks. North Korea has described its balloon campaign as a response to South Korean civilian groups using balloons to fly anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets across the border. Pyongyang has long condemned such activities because it is extremely sensitive to any external criticism of leader Kim Jong Un’s authoritarian rule.

The retaliatory exchanges over loudspeakers and balloons have heightened tensions between the two Koreas as negotiations over the North’s nuclear ambitions remain stalled.


In their latest nuclear planning discussions in Seoul, U.S. and South Korean officials reviewed an undisclosed guideline outlining their nuclear deterrence strategies to counter growing North Korean threats. They also discussed strengthening the allies’ combined military training involving U.S. strategic assets, participants said at a news conference.

Cho Chang-rae, South Korea’s deputy defense minister for policy, and Vipin Narang, acting U.S. assistant secretary of defense for space policy, declined to comment specifically when asked to assess the threat posed by North Korea’s balloon activities.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff did not immediately comment on the number of people believed to speak North Korean or where they were seen being stationed along the border. He said responders were still silent Monday afternoon.

South Korean soldiers dismantle loudspeakers installed for propaganda broadcasts near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, May 1, 2018. (Kim Hong-Ji/Pool Photo via AP, File)

South Korea activated its loudspeakers on Sunday for an initial broadcast to North Korea, which reportedly included news, criticism of the North Korean government and South Korean pop music.

Hours later on Sunday, Kim’s powerful sister warned that the South had created a “prelude to a very dangerous situation.” She said South Korea would witness an unspecified “further response” from the North if it continued its broadcasts and failed to stop civilian activists from flying anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets. across the border.

“I sternly warn Seoul to immediately stop its dangerous activities that could further provoke a confrontational crisis,” Kim Yo Jong said through state media.

Lee Sung Joon, a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Kim’s comments represented an increased verbal threat from North Korea, but he did not provide an assessment specific on the actions that the North could take. Lee said the South broadcasts in locations where soldiers have sufficient protection and are equipped to respond quickly if attacked.

“(We) don’t think they could provoke us so easily,” Lee said during a briefing Monday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff did not specify the border area where Sunday’s broadcast took place or what was played over the loudspeakers. He said any additional broadcasts would depend “entirely on North Korea’s behavior.”

The South removed loudspeakers from border areas in 2018, during a brief period of engagement with the North under Seoul’s previous liberal government.


In deciding to restart loudspeaker broadcasts, South Korea’s presidential office chastised Pyongyang for trying to cause “anxiety and disruption” in the South and stressed that North Korea would be “solely responsible” of any future escalation of tensions.

The North said its balloon campaign came after South Korean activists sent balloons filled with anti-North Korean leaflets, as well as USB drives filled with popular South Korean songs and dramas. Pyongyang is extremely sensitive to such material and fears it could demoralize front-line troops and residents and possibly weaken leader Kim Jong Un’s grip on power, analysts say.

In 2015, when South Korea restarted loudspeaker broadcasts for the first time in 11 years, North Korea fired artillery shells across the border, prompting South Korea to retaliate, according to reports. South Korean officials. No casualties have been reported.