Selasa, 23 Juni 2020

North Korea erects giant loudspeakers on South Korea border -

North Korea is set to reintroduce one of its most bizarre and annoying weapons against South Korea, as tensions between the two nations deteriorate further.

Pyongyang is reinstalling loudspeakers at the border to potentially blast propaganda at its democratic neighbour.

The move comes just days after North Korea blew up the empty, Seoul-built liaison office on its territory.

The speakers are part of a tit-for-tat campaign that also includes big balloons designed to drop anti-North Korean propaganda.

The North is said to be furious at a South Korean group, that includes some defectors, that has been sending thousands of balloons floating across the demilitarised zone full of leaflets denouncing the regime and even US currency.

North Korean officials have labelled the activists “human scum”.

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News agency Reuters reported that North Korea’s military was seen erecting the huge loudspeakers on Tuesday on its side of the frontier. Photos have emerged of the giant sound systems set up on a hill facing South Korea.

The speakers are used to loudly pump out monologues on the benefits of Pyongyang’s socialist regime to anyone who will listen, or couldn’t help but hear, across the border.

A similar system in the South has previously blasted criticism of the socialist regime northwards, interspersed with K-Pop music.

The speakers were removed in 2018 during a positive spell in inter-Korean relations.

If Pyongyang does begin blaring out propaganda, Seoul could turn its system back on, a South Korean military source told Reuters.

“We’re also considering reinstalling our own loudspeakers,” he said.

“But the North hasn’t begun any broadcast yet, and we’re just getting ready to be able to counteract at any time.”


One of Pyongyang’s current gripes is with South Korean-based activist, Park Sang-hak, who has been sending scores of balloons across the tense frontier.

On Monday night, Mr Park said his organisation had floated 20 huge balloons carrying 500,000 leaflets, 2000 US$1 notes and small books railing against the Kim dynasty from the border town of Paju.

Mr Park, who is a North Korean who fled the dictatorship, said in a statement his leafleting is “a struggle for justice for the sake of liberation” of North Koreans.

Calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “an evil” and his rule “barbarism,” Mr Park said he’ll keep sending anti-Kim leaflets.

“Though North Korean residents have become modern-day slaves with no basic rights, don’t they have the rights to know the truth?” he said

Pyongyang has repeatedly warned it that it will retaliate against such actions.

North Korea recently abruptly raised its rhetoric against South Korean civilian leafleting, destroyed an empty, Seoul-built liaison office on its territory and pushed to resume its psychological warfare against the South.

The South isn’t all that pleased with the activists group’s actions either.

South Korean officials have vowed to ban leafleting and said they would press charges against Mr Park and other anti-Pyongyang activists for allegedly raising animosities and potentially endangering frontline border residents.

Seoul’s unification ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, issued a statement expressing “deep regret” over Mr Park’s attempt to send leaflets.

In 2014, North Korean troops opened fire at propaganda balloons flying toward their territory, triggering an exchange of fire that caused no known causalities.

Mr Park accused South Korea’s liberal government of sympathising with North Korea or caving to its threats. Mr Park’s brother, another activist also formerly from North Korea, last week cancelled plans to release bottles filled with dried rice and face masks from a frontline island.


Gyeonggi province, which governs Paju, has earlier issued an administrative order prohibiting activists from entering certain border areas including Paju to fly leaflets to the North.

If Mr Park’s leafleting is confirmed, Gyeonggi official Kim Min-yeong said the province will demand police investigate him. The penalty for violations is a year in prison or a maximum 10 million won (A$12,000) fine.

The provincial office said in a statement on Tuesday that it had separately requested police investigate four activists’ groups, including Mr Park’s, for alleged fraud, diversion of official funds and other charges.

It said the groups have been accused of exploiting leafleting as way to collect donations as part of money-making businesses, rather than North Korea human rights movements.

North Korea does not tolerate outside criticism of its ruling family, who enjoy a strong personality cult built by founder Kim Il Sung, whose military’s surprise invasion on South Korea triggered a devastating three-year war in June 1950.

Mr Park previously said he would push to drop a million leaflets over the border around Thursday, the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

A large banner that Mr Park said was flown to North Korea with the leaflets on Monday shows the image of Kim Il Sung and accuses him of “the slaughter of (the Korean) people” and urges North Koreans to rise up against the Kim family’s rule, according to photos distributed by Mr Park.

At least one of the banners and a balloon with leaflets were found to have landed in Hongcheon, a South Korean town southeast of Paju, not North Korea, Yonhap news agency reported. Hongcheon police said they couldn’t immediately confirm the report.


In recent weeks, North Korea has unleashed insults against leafleting activists like Park, describing them as “human scum” and “mongrel dogs.”

On Monday, North Korea’s state media said it had manufactured 12 million propaganda leaflets to be floated toward South Korea in what it said would be the largest-ever anti-Seoul leafleting campaign.

Experts say North Korea is likely using the South Korean civilian leafleting as a chance to boost its internal unity and apply more pressure on Seoul and Washington amid stalled nuclear talks.

While Seoul has sometimes sent police to block activists from leafleting during sensitive times, it had previously resisted North Korea’s calls for a ban, saying the activists were exercising their freedom of speech.

Seoul’s recent moves against leafleting have drawn criticism that the government is sacrificing democratic principles to keep alive its push for inter-Korean engagement.

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2020-06-23 13:44:37Z

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