The South Korean government decided to resume its loudspeaker broadcasts at noon on January 8, in retaliation for North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.
Cho Tae-yong, Secretary-General of the National Security Council, declared the decision to restart the anti-North Korean broadcasts over loudspeakers, saying, “North Korea’s fourth nuclear test is a breach of its commitments and obligations to the international community, including the UN Security Council resolutions, and it is also a grave violation of the August 25 Agreement between South and North Korea.” He added, “Our military is fully ready. We will sternly retaliate if North Korea launches any forther provocation.”
When North Korea attacked the South Korean military through PMD series mines on August 4 last year, South Korea retaliated with propaganda broadcasts. North Korea showed a very sensitive response to it, but it attended marathon talks and signed an agreement that contains a provision stating that South Korea will stop all loudspeaker broadcasts. This is the August 25 Agreement. South Korea agreed to stop its propaganda broadcasts on “condition of no abnormal situations.” The South Korean government views North Korea’s fourth nuclear test as an abnormal situation.
Currently, 11 front-line divisions are broadcasting propaganda into North Korea, 136 days after they were halted by the August 25 Agreement. With maximum output these speakers could deliver the sound up to 24km at night and 10km during the day. January 8 is the birthday of Kim Jong-un, First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK. Since South Korea resumed loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts on the birthday of Kim Jong-un the First Chairman of the NDC—the Supreme Leader of the DPRK, it is expected to bring strong backlashes from North Korea. When the South Korean military blasted messages over speakers in August last year, North Korea fired anti-aircraft guns and direct-fire weapons and declared a quasi-state of war against South Korea.
South Korea has raised its military readiness alert to the highest level in areas along the border near its propaganda loudspeakers, keeping the possibility of North Korea’s military provocations in mind.