Seoul to ramp up broadcasts to troops in North

South Korean and US troops taking part in a joint military drill in the South's Pohang port yesterday. A military official said Seoul's move to increase its border propaganda broadcasts is aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its recent series of provoca
South Korean and US troops taking part in a joint military drill in the South's Pohang port yesterday. A military official said Seoul's move to increase its border propaganda broadcasts is aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its recent series of provocations, including a missile launch last month. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEOUL • The South Korean military is planning to ramp up its propaganda broadcasts targeting North Korean troops by doubling the number of loudspeakers along the heavily fortified border, a report said yesterday.

The report comes as North Korea released water from a dam near its border with South Korea without warning, raising fears of flooding in the South amid torrential rain in recent days.

Since the North's widely condemned nuclear test in January, the South has blasted a mixture of news, propaganda messages and Korean pop music across the border, using giant banks of about 17 loudspeakers.

According to Yonhap news agency, the number of loudspeakers would be doubled by the end of the year, and some ageing equipment would be replaced by new devices capable of broadcasting from more than 10km away.

It quoted a South Korean military official who declined to be named. Seoul's Defence Ministry declined to confirm the report.

"We will make more efforts to erode the morale of the North's troops on the frontline and deliver information (about the outside world) to civilians there," said the official quoted by Yonhap.

North Korean civilians live within range of the loudspeakers.

The move is aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its recent series of provocations, including the launch of a new medium-range missile last month, said the official.

The launch of the Musudan missile, which could theoretically reach United States military bases in the Pacific, including Guam, raised alarm over Pyongyang's capability of delivering a nuclear warhead.

The border propaganda broadcasts would carry more criticisms of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his "hopeless" policies of pursuing the simultaneous development of nuclear arsenal and the economy, said the military official.

Meanwhile, North Korea appears to have gradually opened the floodgates near the border yesterday, Yonhap reported, citing an unidentified South Korea military official.

The water level under a bridge over the Imjin river in the South reportedly rose suddenly, prompting the evacuation of residents who live along the river.

No major damage or injuries have been reported so far, according to cable news channel YTN.

North Korea discharged water from the dam without warning in 2009, killing six South Koreans who were camping downstream.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Seoul to ramp up broadcasts to troops in North'. Print Edition | Subscribe