The South Korean government has come up with a creative idea to demoralize its North Korean counterpart.
The Daily Caller reports that news of a North Korean defector, who survived several gunshot wounds after successful escaping to freedom, is being broadcasted loudly by via high-decibel loudspeakers to North Korean soldiers stationed on the border.
A 24-year-old North Korean soldier named Oh succeeded in a desperate attempt to defect to South Korea last week. Fleeing first in a jeep and then later on foot, the young man succeeded in making his way to freedom despite being shot several times.
After collapsing on a pile of leaves, he was rescued by US and South Korean troops before receiving medical treatment at the Ajou University Hospital, which required multiple surgeries due to various health complications. Currently, he is awake and recovering in a hospital.
As a part of a South Korean psyops campaign, the military has begun blasting broadcasts at the DMZ describing the latest defection, as well as the Oh’s injuries at the hands of his former comrades and his current state. Many suspect that these types of strategies will encourage other North Koreans to defect across the border.
The “Voice of Freedom” broadcasts, as they are called, are blasted via a collection of 48 speakers that can project sound as far as 12 miles into North Korea. The provocative psyops campaign was resumed after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January.
“We don’t capitalize on our great weapon, which is information. That’s something they worry about a lot. Their reaction to the loudspeakers being activated along the DMZ or the dropping of leaflets by NGOs over North Korea, they go to nuts when that happens. So that is a great vulnerability I don’t think we’ve exploited,” said former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last year.
Two North Korean soldiers who defected at the DMZ earlier in June reportedly did so because they were influenced by the “Voice of Freedom” broadcasts at the border, with one saying he became “enamored” after listening to stories of what was life was like behind the DMZ, according to Business Insider.
“The news about an elite soldier like a JSA guard having fled in a hail of bullets will have a significant psychological impact on North Korean border guards,” a South Korean military spokesman added.
An earlier version of the “Voice of Freedom” system was used periodically since the Korean War but ended up being more subtle in recent years, often broadcasting weather reports, news, and other topics. Prior to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, the system had been largely unused for the past 11 years.
As North Korea continues to saber-rattle to the world, the truth is starting to emerge. Is North Korea starting to implode?
Reuters reports that more than 1,000 North Koreans defect into South Korea each year via China, often relying on criminal gangs or smugglers to assist them in the process. However, it remains unusual for defectors to cross the land border itself dividing North and South Korea.
How long North Korea will remain a tangible threat to world peace is yet to be seen. Until then, many more defectors are expected to make the dangerous journey in hopes of achieving true freedom.