SOUTH KOREA TO RESUME PROPAGANDA WAR WITH NORTH KOREA

Agence France-Presse on August 10, 2015, reported that South Korea ordered border propaganda operations against North Korea to resume for the first time in 11 years, in retaliation for landmine blasts that maimed two of its soldiers during a frontier patrol. Excerpts below:

The Defence Ministry said banks of loudspeakers positioned at various spots along the border would be switched on for the first time since 2004 and used to blast out messages denouncing North Korean provocations.

The order came hours after Seoul vowed Pyongyang would pay a “harsh price” for allegedly planting the landmines that detonated in the South Korean half of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) — a buffer area flanking both sides of the inter-Korean frontier.

One soldier injured in the blasts underwent a double leg amputation, while another had one leg removed.

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff vowed that North Korea, which has yet to react to the charge that it was behind the blasts, would “pay a harsh price proportionate for the provocation it made”.

Describing the attack as a “baseless act” and “wanton violation” of non-aggression accords, it urged the North to apologize and punish those responsible.

A Defence Ministry official described the resumption of border propaganda operations as only a “first step.”

The loudspeakers had sent messages extolling the virtues of South Korea for years before the practice was discontinued…

Seoul had threatened to resume the campaign in 2010 after the sinking of a naval corvette that was blamed on a North Korean submarine.

But although the loudspeakers were re-installed, they were never put back into use as Seoul limited itself to a number of direct FM radio broadcasts into North Korea instead.

Some analysts suggested it was a preemptive attempt to raise tensions before a major South Korea-US military exercise scheduled to begin next week.

The latest incident comes at a sensitive time, with both Koreas preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1945 liberation of the Korean Peninsula from Japanese rule.

There had been hopes that the anniversary might be an opportunity for some sort of rapprochement, but efforts to organize a joint commemoration went nowhere. Pyongyang refused to consider talks because of Seoul’s refusal to cancel its military drills with the United States.

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