South Korea Adds Reports on Defecting Soldier to Border Broadcasts into North Korea

A South Korean soldier takes down a battery of propaganda loudspeakers on the border with
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea’s military has added news updates on the health of a defected North Korean soldier to its loudspeaker broadcasts in the Demilitarized Zone on the border between the two countries.

Yonhap News Agency reports that South Korean troops broadcasted an update about the soldier’s “nutritive conditions” so loudly that individuals located more than 12 miles away could still hear it.

“The nutritive conditions of the North Korean soldier who recently defected through the Panmunjom were unveiled,” an official told Yonhap News Agency.

The soldier in question gained international notoriety after dramatic footage of his escape from North Korea was posted online, which shows him driving towards the border before being shot multiple times as he attempted to cross.

According to the surgeon treating him, the soldier, named Oh, remains in stable condition but needed 12 liters of blood to save his life and will suffer from lifelong complications because the bullets ruptured his colon and collapsed his lung.

The loudspeaker in operation was introduced as a new form of psychological warfare from South Korea in 2015 after the North successfully tested another hydrogen bomb.

The speakers are mainly used to open up North Koreans to the possibility of the outside world, providing material such as weather reports, political discussions, South Korean pop music, and general criticism of life in the North. Currently, approximately two to six hours of broadcasts occur throughout the day and night at irregular hours.

The operation has provoked immense anger from the North, which fears that it will provoke defections from its front-line soldiers. Between January and August of this year alone, 780 North Koreans have defected to South Korea.

After initially threatening to destroy the speakers, authorities have since opted to use their own loudspeaker operation denouncing life in the South to cancel out the opposing loudspeaker. However, the quality is so poor that many cannot hear it.

The psychological warfare continues as the North continues to develop its nuclear capacity, threatening destruction of both South Korea and the United States. Last week, South Korea’s foreign intelligence agency confirmed it was expecting additional North Korean missile tests soon.

In September, the North declared it was “fully determined” to reduce South Korea “to ashes” and have also threatened to turn the United States into a “pile of ash” by launching an “unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”

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