S. Korea resumes broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda across border

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- As world leaders debated how to punish North Korea's claim of a fourth nuclear test, South Korea retaliated by broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda across the rivals' tense border Friday on what was believed to be Kim Jong Un's birthday.

See Full Article

North Korea considers such broadcasts to be an act of psychological warfare and likely will have a furious response. Pyongyang is extremely sensitive to any outside criticism of the authoritarian leadership of Kim, the third member of his family to rule the country. When South Korea briefly resumed propaganda broadcasts in August after an 11-year break, Seoul says the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire, followed by threats of war.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that frontline troops, near 11 sites where loudspeakers started blaring propaganda at noon, were on highest alert. Yonhap said Seoul had deployed missiles, artillery and other weapons systems near the border to swiftly deal with any possible North Korean provocation. South Korea's Defence Ministry did not immediately confirm the reports.

The North Korean response could be harsh because of the high emotions surrounding the likely birthday of Kim, who is believed to be in his early 30s. North Korean military forces often compete to show their loyalty to the leader. The North's state media has yet to mention Kim's birthday or South Korea's loudspeaker campaign.

The broadcasts came as world powers sought to find other ways to punish the North for conducting what it said was its first hydrogen bomb test Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China, the North's only major ally and its biggest aid provider, to end "business as usual" with North Korea.

Diplomats at a U.N. Security Council emergency session pledged to swiftly pursue new sanctions. For current sanctions and any new penalties to work, better co-operation and stronger implementation from China is seen as key.

South Korean and U.S. military leaders also have discussed the deployment of U.S. "strategic assets," Seoul's Defence Ministry said. Officials refused to elaborate, but the assets likely are B-52 bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and nuclear-powered submarines.

After North Korea's third nuclear test in 2013, the U.S. took the unusual step of sending its most powerful warplanes -- B-2 stealth bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and B-52 bombers -- to drills with South Korea in a show of force. B-2 and B-52 bombers are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

It may take weeks or longer to confirm or refute the North's claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, which would mark a major and unanticipated advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal. Outside experts are skeptical the blast was a hydrogen bomb, but even a test of an atomic bomb would push North Korea closer to building a nuclear warhead small enough to place on a long-range missile.

Late Friday, the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety said a small amount of radioactive elements was found in air samples collected from the peninsula's eastern seas after the blast but the measured amount was too small to determine whether the North had really detonated a nuclear device.

The institute said the level of xenon-133 isotopes found in the samples was similar to levels normally detected at its two radioactive gas detectors on the eastern and western coasts. KINS official Lee Ki-hyeong also noted that other types of xenon isotopes used to confirm nuclear explosions weren't detected.

Lee said the institute will continue to collect and analyze more samples.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond had asked South Korea to refrain from the propaganda broadcasts. But South Korea sees K-pop and propaganda as quick ways to show its displeasure -- and a guaranteed irritant to the North's sensitive and proud leadership.

The broadcasts include Korean pop songs, world news and weather forecasts as well as criticism of the North's nuclear test, its troubled economy and dire human rights conditions, according to Seoul's Defence Ministry.

Performers on Seoul's propaganda playlist include a female K-pop band that rose to fame when its members fell multiple times on stage, a middle-aged singer who rose from obscurity last year with a song about living for 100 years and songs by a young female singer, IU, whose sweet, girlish voice might be aimed at North Korean soldiers deployed near the border.

North Koreans are prohibited from listening to K-pop, but defectors have said their countrymen enjoy music and other elements of South Korea popular culture that are smuggled into the country on USB sticks and DVDs.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Prosecutor: Wife sought women as slaves for husband

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — A couple accused of luring women to their home in western Germany and abusing them so badly that two of them died went on trial Wednesday, charged with murder by omission and bodily harm. Wilfried W. Source
  • Police: Wanted Oklahoma man had hit list, killed 2 relatives

    World News Toronto Sun
    OKLAHOMA CITY — Authorities say the Oklahoma man who has been wanted since Sunday in a string of violent crimes, including the killings of two relatives, had a hit list purporting to target several more people. Michael Dale Vance Jr. Source
  • 'You are fascinated with sex'; Newt Gingrich-Megyn Kelly showdown was one for the ages

    World News Toronto Sun
    There are times when words do not do complete justice to a moment. Tuesday night's Newt Gingrich-Megyn Kelly showdown is one of those times, which is why we've included the clip below of its final moments. (Here's the full interview, from the top. Source
  • Witness testifies MMA fighter accused of manslaughter seemed 'impressed with his one-hit knockout'

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    An eyewitness to a deadly "one-hit knockout" outside an Edmonton pub tearfully testified Tuesday the accused killer appeared "very proud" and "impressed" by what he had allegedly done. Sariah Reid told a jury she had been at Gallagher's Pub, 8937 82 Ave. Source
  • Chestermere crime kingpin jailed and fined $1.5 million

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Crime kingpin Dung Kien Luong was sentenced Tuesday to 5 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay fines of $1.5 million for tax evasion and other charges. Luong, 53, had earlier pleaded guilty to four charges as part of a plea deal which saw several others withdrawn by the Crown. Source
  • Could the nickel be eliminated from your pocket change?

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — An internal federal analysis shows the government has studied the pros and cons of the nickel — but Ottawa insists it has no plans to force the five-cent coin into retirement, as it did the penny. Source
  • Couple facing theft charge in diamond switch appear in Saint John, N.B., court

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The suspects in a string of nationwide jewelry heists were scheduled to appear today in a New Brunswick provincial court to face diamond-theft charges. Seventy-year-old Grigori Zaharov and 44-year-old Natalia Feldman of Vaughan, Ont. Source
  • 92-year-old Sask. man, recognized as world's oldest plumber, has no plans to retire

    Canada News CTV News
    His impressive resume includes accountant, pilot, journeyperson and Second World War veteran and now Lorne Figley has added another achievement to the list – the world’s oldest plumber. The 92-year-old Saskatoon man was bestowed the title by Guinness World Records earlier this month. Source
  • Nursing home suspect discussed sobriety online

    Canada News CTV News
    The Ontario nurse accused of killing eight elderly patients in long-term care facilities was active on social media, where she shared photos and recipes, commented on internet memes, and chronicled an apparent journey to sobriety that began two years ago. Source
  • Trump touts hotel as Pence heads to Utah in waning days

    World News CTV News
    ASHLAND, Ohio -- Donald Trump is taking a break from campaigning Wednesday to formally open his new hotel in Washington, while dispatching his running mate to play political defence in Utah -- which hasn't backed a Democrat for president in 52 years. Source