Seoul to crank up DMZ propaganda

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Seoul to crank up DMZ propaganda

The South Korean military is preparing to aggressively spread propaganda into North Korea, said the Minister of National Defense yesterday.

“We are preparing strategies to switch our propaganda radio announcements from FM to AM and also are preparing tactics to scatter radios in the North’s territory,” said Defense Minister Kim Tae-young during the ministry’s audit session at the National Assembly. “We have sent radios to North Korea in the past but we are now preparing to fly not only pamphlets but also devise a way to get more radios across the border.”

The minister’s statement came after Grand National Party representative Chung Mi-kyung asked him if the ministry was going to fulfill its promise of increasing psychological warfare against North Korea. President Lee Myung-bak said in May the government would launch psychological attacks on the North after the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March.

“There are currently 11 speakers through which anti-North propaganda messages can be broadcast,” Kim said. “Setting up one area with a speaker costs 13 million won ($11,583) and we believe that we will be setting up three additional locations.”

Kim also said the ministry is thinking of installing an electronic display board on the DMZ that would cost 1.3 billion won.

“The 11 loudspeakers we have already are forms of pressure against the North,” said the minister. “If North Korea shows another form of provocation or when it is politically necessary, we will immediately start broadcasting propaganda and sending printed pamphlets to the North.”

AM broadcasts can travel farther than FM broadcasts.

North and South Korea came to an agreement to stop blasting propaganda across the border on June 15, 2004 when relations between the two countries were improving.

After Cheonan sinking, which North Korea denies responsibility for, the South Korean government started installing the 11 loudspeakers. South Korea broadcast anti-North propaganda messages from 1962 until 2004, usually consisting of current Korean pop music, news and appeals to North Korean soldiers to defect to the South.

By Christine Kim []
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