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S. Korea's military ditches N. Korean leader's name in border propaganda broadcasts

All Headlines 11:46 February 22, 2018

SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- The military no longer mentions North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by name in its cross-border propaganda broadcasts using high-decibel loudspeakers, an opposition lawmaker said Thursday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) instructed its psychological warfare unit last year to discontinue the use of the name in programs critical of the North's regime, formally citing concerns that it may rouse antipathy among North Korean residents, according to its report to Rep. Kim Hack-yong of the conservative Liberty Korea Party.

The team has since focused on spreading information on the North's budget-gulping missile tests and the ruling elites' luxurious lifestyle.

Other content includes the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, a unified female ice hockey team and a joint march at the opening ceremony.

A propaganda loudspeaker system installed at a border region is shown in this file photo. (Yonhap)

It marks a contrast to the fierce condemnation of the communist nation's dictatorship that was featured in the South's cross-border broadcasts under previous conservative administrations.

The JCS reportedly operates a total of 40 loudspeakers along the heavily-fortified border for 20 hours of broadcasting every day.

An official at the psychological warfare unit was quoted as saying that there's no change in the overall volume or length of the broadcasts.

The lawmaker denounced the military's move, claiming it "highlights the current government's submissive approach toward the North."

"While there's no change at all in the crisis situation on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea may miscalculate (the South's defense posture) if our military authorities lower their guard," he said.

Asked by reporters about the report, in the meantime, the JCS spokesman Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon would neither confirm nor deny it.

"I'm limited in publicly confirming our military's ongoing psychological operation against North Korea," he said at a press briefing. "All I can tell you is that we are applying the optimum method to achieve the purpose and effectiveness of the operation."

lcd@yna.co.kr
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