South Korea To Irritate Kim Jong Un With K-Pop

Interested in undermining the authority of one of the world’s most oppressive dictators? Try blasting Korean pop music across the border of his country. Fresh off Kim Jong Un’s announcement that his country had successfully tested an H-bomb, South Korea plans to combat the saber-rattling by turning up loudspeakers along the armed border with their northern neighbors.

The plan is to broadcast both propaganda declaring the horrors of Kim’s regime and the wonders of democracy, interspersed with bouncy K-pop ballads and rap and hip hop songs.

South Korea said they also plan to drop anti-Kim pamphlets into the dictator’s “front yard.”

South Korean pop ballads and rap music, known as K-pop, are known to irritate Kim. South Koreans know this because they used them once before in August as retaliation for injuring two South Korean soldiers by DMZ mines. Kim cried uncle soon after.

In August, the two countries had entered into a “semi-state of war” that ended with talks in which Kim agreed to pull back his forces. Kim also demanded that Seoul would turn the speakers off in return.

“Kim Jong Un isn’t your typical dictator. He’s a god in North Korea, and propaganda broadcasts raise questions among North Koreans about that,” Park Chang Kwon of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul, told Bloomberg. “Broadcasts from South Korea can reach deep and far into North Korea’s society, imbuing the minds of its people with the images of a free nation and hurting the oppressive personality cult.”

On Thursday, Defense Minister Han Min Koo said that the H-bomb announcement signified an “abnormal situation.” Under those circumstances, the speakers can go back on–which is just what Seoul plans to do.

Since North Korea is a police state in which all communication is controlled by the Kim regime, blasting information and music over the border is an effective way of reaching North Korean citizens who are isolated from the rest of the world. The speakers have been set up at 11 different locations, and they will engage in three to four messages several times each day, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper. They will be played at random times so that the North cannot anticipate when, and thus drown them out with their own loudspeakers.

What’s even more powerful about the broadcasts is that they are also scheduled to begin on the day of Kim Jong Un’s birthday, which of course will be designated as a national day of celebration. South Korean broadcasts will no doubt spoil the party.

“North Korea may react in an ultra-strong way to this decision by South Korea, viewing it as an act of ruining a national party.”

In August some of the K-pop songs included “Heart” by female singer IU, and an electro-rap song “Bang Bang Bang,” by a boy band called Big Bang.

The broadcasts will also alternate with casual conversations and discussions of human rights, as well as describing the lives of South Korea’s middle class, which could be a powerful deterrent to Kim while intriguing the people of North Korea, whose lives are so tightly controlled.

In October 2014, the South also flew balloons overhead dropping anti-Kim leaflets, which were shot at, and the North has also threatened attacking them with artillery if the South tries again.

“The resumption of loudspeaker broadcasts may emotionally provoke the North Korean military sensitive to criticism of the ‘supreme dignity,’ rather than help resolve the nuclear issue,” Cheong Seong Chang of the Sejong Institute near Seoul told Bloomberg.