South Korea is trolling North Korea by using loudspeakers to blast K-pop over the border

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Saturday 22 August 2015 12:00
In this stock image, a South Korean soldier takes down a battery of propaganda loudspeakers on the border with North Korea on 16 June 2004 in Paju, South Korea.

In the most serious confrontation between North and South Korea in years, North Korea has declared that its troops are in a "quasi-state of war" and readying for battle.

The reason? Seoul won't stop blasting K-pop, weather reports and anti-North Korea propaganda across the border with walls of loudspeakers.

South Korea's military fired dozens of artillery rounds across the border on Thursday in response to what Seoul said were North Korean artillery strikes meant to back up a threat to attack the loudspeakers.

Kim Jong-un had demanded that the speakers come down by 0900BST on Saturday - a deadline that has now passed, but the BBC reports that talks are now taking place in the demilitarised zone between the two countries.

A South Korean soldier walks by barricades on the road leading to North Korea's Kaesong joint industrial complex at a military checkpoint in the border city of Paju on August 21, 2015

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has vowed to continue the broadcasts, which were recently restarted following an 11 year hiatus after the South accused Pyongyang of planting land mines that maimed two South Korean soldiers earlier this month.

The loudspeaker broadcasts are taken seriously in Pyongyang because the government does not want its soldiers and citizens to hear the critiques of North Korean rights abuses and economic mismanagement, news from the outside world, and reassurances that defectors will be welcomed in Seoul with open arms.

North Korea has also reinstalled its speakers, but reports say that the sound quality is so bad the broadcasts are almost impossible to understand.

The two countries previously reached an agreement to dismantle all propaganda loudspeakers on the border back in 2004.

More: North Korea as you've never seen it before

More: North Korea has investigated itself, found things are pretty much OK