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South Korea To Resume Broadcasting Propaganda To The North Over Loudspeakers

A South Korean soldier looks through a pair of binoculars near the village of Panmunjom, which sits at the border between the two Koreas.
Lee Jin-man
A South Korean soldier looks through a pair of binoculars near the village of Panmunjom, which sits at the border between the two Koreas.

South Korea announced plans to restart propaganda broadcasts over its border with North Korea, a day after Pyongyang claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

The U.S. is doubtful that the test was actually a hydrogen bomb. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said "The initial analysis is not consistent with North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb." As we reported, South Korea also questioned the claim. There are still many unanswered questions about the nuclear test.

The propaganda broadcasts "are certain to infuriate authoritarian Pyongyang because they are meant to raise questions in North Korean minds about the infallibility of the ruling Kim family," The Associated Press reports.

"The broadcasts typically include news updates, weather updates, anti-North Korean propaganda messages" and even local pop music, NPR's Seoul correspondent Elise Hu says

North Korea views them as an act of war, though as Elise notes, "they're still technically at war anyway."

"The broadcasts last resumed following an 11 year break in August 2015. South Korea stopped them in August following days of talks that resulted in a deal to defuse tensions. It's safe to say those tensions have returned."

BBC reports that the broadcasts are set to start again on Friday, which happens to be the 33rd birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, spoke to Morning Edition on Thursday about North Korea's claim and the message it sends:

"People are basing their assessments on the seismic readings which seem to suggest it was not a hydrogen bomb. It's not - the readings are not large enough for it to be a hydrogen bomb. Nevertheless, this is the fourth nuclear test by North Korea. It was more powerful than the three previous tests, and they're clearly advancing their program with each test that they do."

You can listen to the full interview here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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