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South Korea to start broadcasting from loudspeakers on North Korean border

Seoul said that Pyongyang bears full responsibility for the rising tensions

SEOUL, June 9. /TASS/. South Korea will resume broadcasting from loudspeakers on the border with North Korea as an ‘intolerable measure’ in response to the repeated sending of balloons with garbage, the presidential office said.

On June 9, the National Security Council discussed retaliatory measures in response to the launch of balloons with garbage from the territory of North Korea. "It will be difficult for the North Korean regime to bear the measures we are taking, but these measures will bring light and hope to the people and army of North Korea. We will set up loudspeakers and start broadcasting today," the South Korean presidential office said.

Seoul said that Pyongyang bears full responsibility for the rising tensions.

On June 6 and 7, South Korean defector organizations launched propaganda leaflet balloons into North Korea. In turn, the country launched about 330 balloons with garbage into South Korea on the night of June 8-9. On June 2, North Korean Vice Defense Minister Kim Kang Il said that the country had temporarily stopped sending the balloons because the measure was retaliatory. North Korea launched balloons with garbage on May 28 and June 1.

On June 2, the South Korean presidential administration said it might resume loudspeaker broadcasts as an "intolerable measure."

About loudspeakers

South Korea has used loudspeakers in the past as a means of exerting psychological influence on the North Korean army and the people in the border areas. Criticism of the North Korean system and top leadership has been broadcast through the loudspeakers. Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to stop the loudspeakers at an inter-Korean summit in April 2018 under former South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who sought dialogue with North Korea.

Pyongyang is sensitive to this form of political agitation, according to South Korean media. "They would really dislike the reopening of the loudspeakers, because they would broadcast a lot of talk about Kim Jong Un's family. Materials with such content are the things the North Korean system dislikes the most," South Korean media said. North Korea used similar broadcasts at the border.

South Korea used the loudspeakers from 1963 to 2004, and has reactivated them several times in the past decade. According to the military, the sound from the loudspeakers could be clearly heard up to 10 kilometers away during the day. The "broadcast program" included weather forecasts, news from the South and the world, and South Korean popular music. According to some experts, the resumption of broadcasting could lead to increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula: in 2015, North Korea shelled the positions of the South Korean military where this equipment was placed.