South Korean soldiers dismantle stacked loudspeakers in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, in this May 2018 photo. Joint Press Corps

As North Korea has ramped up hostility toward South Korea with a series of provocations, there are increasing calls to resume operating loudspeakers along the inter-Korean border as a countermeasure.

The South Korean military used to operate propaganda loudspeakers as part of its psychological warfare tactics against North Korea. It carried broadcasts on weather, K-pop and news critical of the North Korean regime, leading Pyongyang to express strong opposition due to possible effects they might have on its military and people.

The use of the loudspeakers has been suspended since the inter-Korean summit in April 2018. Under the agreement, the two Koreas agreed to stop all hostile acts, including loudspeaker broadcasting and the scattering of leaflets in areas along the military demarcation line.

However, Pyongyang has failed to honor the agreements by continuing nuclear programs and launching military provocations, as well as sending balloons carrying trash. Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, admitted that flying hundreds of balloons across the border was a “government-led” action.

“The United Nations Command announced that the North’s military action of deploying trash-laden balloons constitutes a violation of the Armistice Agreement and international law, but our military did respond immediately and strongly,” the Korean Veterans Association said in a statement Friday.

“We must respond firmly to crush the North’s willingness for addition provocations.”

Rep. Han Ki-ho, a four-term lawmaker of the ruling People Power Party, also proposed that South Korea resume using loudspeaker broadcasts rather than issuing simple warnings.

“The National Assembly and the government should work together to revise related laws to immediately resume loudspeaker broadcasts against North Korea,” Han said.

The Ministry of National Defense is set to take corresponding measures depending on the level of North Korea’s provocations, saying it is preparing for the possibility of resuming loudspeaker broadcasts.

“Regarding the psychological warfare against North Korea, the military is prepared to take immediate, appropriate measures in case of an emergency,” a military source said.

Experts are divided over the effectiveness of resuming loudspeakers.

Moon Seong-mook, the chief of the Unification Strategy Center at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, asserted that the government needs to consider the option as top priority.

“The loudspeaker is an effective tool to pressure North Korea. I bet North Korea will continue its aggressive acts, but there is no reason to shy away from what you need to do because you’re afraid of its consequences,” Moon said.

“North Korea failed to keep its promises from the Panmunjeom Declaration in April 2018, redefining inter-Korean relations as two 온라인카지노 states hostile to each other and continuing military provocations. The president has the authority to change related laws, and once he makes the decision, the military should be ready to take necessary actions.”

However, Lim Eul-chul, a professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University, said loudspeakers could ratchet up tensions further on the Korean Peninsula.

“If we resume loudspeaker broadcast, it is clear that North Korea will respond sensitively to the matter. That will inevitably increase the tension on the peninsula, which will unnerve residents living near the border area,” Lim said.

The loudspeaker issue has been a hot-button issue between the two Koreas, leading to many disputes over the decades. Both sides have deployed speakers to direct propaganda at one another, and the North Korean regime has, on many occasions, responded sensitively to the matter.

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