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South Korea Uses BTS Songs as New Weapon Against North Korea

Daniel Kim Views  

The military facility near Paju, Gyeonggi Province’s border, still stands where the loudspeaker used for the broadcasts was previously installed. On June 9, the administration resumed the broadcasts towards North Korea. Whether the loudspeaker is installed inside the building is unknown. /Yonhap

As North Korea sent over 330 garbage balloons from the night of June 8 to the morning of June 9, the South Korean military turned on the once-shut-off loudspeakers to play BTS songs towards North Korea on the afternoon of June 9. This marks the resumption of the loudspeaker broadcasts towards North Korea that had been suspended for 6 years. In the afternoon, South Korea’s military broadcasted “Voice of Freedom” through the loudspeakers, the anti-North Korean broadcast of the military’s psychological warfare unit.

The “Unbearable measures” previously warned by the South Korean government will likely be fully implemented, marking the beginning of heightened military tensions between North and South Korea. The Minister of National Defense, Shin Won Sik, responded by calling an emergency meeting of senior military commanders in the afternoon and giving them instructions to “respond firmly according to the principle of ‘immediate, strong, and to the end’ if North Korea commits a direct provocation using the loudspeaker broadcasts as an excuse.”

The government convened a standing committee of the National Security Council (NSC) in the morning in reaction to North Korea’s garbage balloons, and it agreed to restart the loudspeaker broadcasts towards North Korea, which had been halted since the Panmunjom Declaration in April 2018. They continued to blast Voice of Freedom, the radio broadcast of the military’s psychological warfare unit towards North Korea, through the stationary loudspeakers installed in 24 frontline areas and 16 mobile devices in the afternoon.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff responded, “As we warned against North Korea’s garbage balloon launches, our military conducted the loudspeaker broadcasts in the afternoon. Whether or not our military will continue the loudspeaker broadcasts depends entirely on North Korea’s actions.” “We clearly state that all responsibility for the situation lies with North Korea, and we strongly urge them to stop despicable acts like garbage balloon launches. The military also recently conducted ‘Echoes of Freedom’ training for broadcasting towards North Korea in the frontline areas,” they added.

Loudspeaker broadcasts toward North Korea have long been a key psychological warfare tactic used by the South Korean military.

Until April 2018, a variety of songs were played, including “Hundred Years Life” by Lee Ae Ran, “I Feel You” and “So Hot” by Wonder Girls, “Let Us Just Love” by Apink, “Me Gustas Tu” by GFRIEND, “Bang Bang Bang” by BIGBANG, “Heart” by IU, “The Meeting” by Noh Sa Yeon, and “Genie” by Girls’ Generation. These broadcasts served both to disseminate information and influence sentiment across the border.

North Korea considered the loudspeaker broadcasts as a threat to the regime and has even fired at the loudspeakers.

The resumption of using loudspeakers, which has been a source of significant tension between North-South relations, marks the first in over six years. The North reacted strongly towards the loudspeakers, demanding suspension at every North-South meeting, even firing guns and cannons. People anticipate the previously warned “unbearable measures” will gradually be implemented.

The military authorities are known to prepare live-fire training with the K-9 self-propelled guns on Baengnyeong Island and the Army’s multiple rocket launcher system “Cheonmu” in the northwest islands. The first maritime shooting training in the northwest islands area after the government’s declaration of the complete suspension of the 9·19 North-South Military Agreement will occur this month. Live-fire and large-scale mobile training at the regiment level or above will be conducted according to the training plans of each military. A military official said, “Realistically, it will take time to get residents’ consent and other procedures for live-fire and large-scale mobile training on the ground. It will be carried out according to the training schedule of each unit.”

If North Korea makes additional provocations, the military or the government will launch large-scale anti-North leaflets or install large anti-North electric signs. Because the North Korean military sent garbage balloons to the South, there is speculation that the South Korean military could also launch a massive amount of anti-North leaflets that could completely cover all of North Korea. There is also a possibility of the installation of a large electric sign 10m high and 18m long (32.8 ft high x 59.1 ft long) near the GOP to change the perception of North Korean soldiers and conduct psychological warfare to make them long for South Korea.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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