Fri, Jan 15, 2016 - Page 6 News List

S Korea prepares message boards for North

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE:The bulletin boards, which resemble electronic boards at sports stadiums, have previously carried slogans such as ‘North Korea is a difficult place’

Reuters, SEOUL

South Korea is preparing to escalate its psychological warfare against North Korea in response to its latest nuclear test with giant electronic message boards along the border.

South Korea has already set up walls of loudspeakers on the border that have been blaring bursts of anti-North Korean slogans and “K-pop” music since Friday last week, a tactic the North considers insulting.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense yesterday said that it was preparing to install the old electronic bulletin boards, which media said were last used in 2004.

“It takes some time to arrange them because the electronic bulletin boards that were used before were dismantled or old,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

However, Kim said that no final decision had been made on whether to go ahead with the installation.

The bulletin boards in the past carried slogans such as “Come over to the Republic of Korea,” and “North Korea is a difficult place.”

The screens resemble electronic scoreboards at sports stadiums, another military official said.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday said that the loudspeaker broadcasts against the North were “the most effective and certain tool for psychological warfare.”

The last time the South used the speakers, in August last year, it led to a standoff that included an exchange of artillery fire.

Park said the tactic had an impact in the North.

“According to defectors who served on the North’s front line, they first did not trust what loudspeakers broadcast, but they came to believe it then crossed the border, risking their lives,” Park said in a televised speech.

“The power of truth is the strongest threat to a totalitarian regime,” she said.

South Korea’s loudspeakers were Seoul’s initial retaliation for North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, on Wednesday last week, but Park has also called for “bone-numbing” international sanctions.

North Korea appears to have responded with its own psychological operations. It is suspected of sending hot air balloons dropping leaflets critical of the Seoul government into the South on recent nights.

The North is also using its own loudspeaker broadcasts, although South Korean officials say those appear intended to muffle the broadcasts from the South.

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