South Korean propaganda broadcasts, which include K-pop, have taken North and South Korea “to the brink of war,” according to North Korean officials. South Korea has renewed cross-border K-pop broadcasts following a suspected nuclear test performed by the North Korean government.
On Wednesday, January 6, South Korea reported a seismic event about 30 miles from a known North Korean nuclear testing site. The event resembled an earthquake, but North Korean officials announced to the international community that they had performed a successful hydrogen bomb test.
According to NBC News, officials from South Korea, and outside experts, questioned whether the nuclear test was actually a hydrogen bomb. One anonymous South Korean official told NBC News, “we presume that it was not a hydrogen bomb test.”
Additionally, CNN reports that if the test had involved a hydrogen bomb, South Korea’s seismic monitors should have detected a much larger event. Although the U.S. Air Force had a plane in the area that was equipped with sensors capable of detecting nuclear blasts, an official told CNN that data from those sensors would not be available for some time.
If the test actually did involve a hydrogen bomb, that would represent a significant advance in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.
In answer to the claims that Pyongyang didn’t test a real hydrogen bomb, a North Korean television broadcast suggested that the nuclear test involved a “miniaturized” hydrogen bomb. It went on to indicate that the isolated country will not use its nuclear weapons “unless aggressive, hostile forces infringe upon our autonomy.”
In addition to questioning whether the nuclear test actually involved a hydrogen bomb, South Korea also responded to the test by redoubling propaganda efforts at the border. Large speakers have been employed to blast K-pop over the border, along with, “information about life in South Korea as well as about North Korea.”
The banks of speakers have been used in the past, and South Korea stopped using them last year, according to NBC News.
Speaking at a rally on Friday, January 8, Kim Ki Nam, the head of North Korea’s Workers’ Party propaganda department, said that the renewed broadcasts could tip the countries into open hostilities.
“Jealous of the successful test of our first H-bomb, the U.S. and its followers are driving the situation to the brink of war, by saying they have resumed psychological broadcasts and brought in strategic bombers.”
When Kim Ki Nam refers to followers of the U.S., he means the government of South Korea, while the psychological broadcasts he references consist largely of K-pop music interspersed with criticism against the North Korean government, according a report from Reuters.
This isn’t the first time that North Korea has claimed that South Korean propaganda broadcasts pushed the countries “to the brink of war.” Last year, rising hostilities along the border led to South Korea turning its loudspeakers on. According to NBC News, North Korea responded by firing on the speakers, and South Korea fired dozens of shells back in response.
This time, world leaders are asking South Korea to back off on the K-pop. According to CNN, British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond urged South Korea to exercise restraint in the matter.
“North Korea acts in a totally irresponsible and provocative way,” Hammond said in response to the North Korean nuclear test. “So I can entirely understand the pressure South Korea feels to respond. But, we have to be bigger than the North Koreans and I would urge South Korea and other like-minded countries in the region to exercise restraint. We know that responding in this way is simply rising to the bait North Korea is presenting to us.”
At the same time, South Korea and the U.S. may be planning to move strategic weapons into the area. According to Reuters, B-2 and B-52 bombers could be moved in, along with a nuclear submarine.
What do you think about using K-pop as propaganda?
[Photo by Lee Jin-man/Associated Press]