South Korea blasts propaganda over border with North; K-Pop to come

South Korea has resumed propaganda broadcasts via loudspeakers against Pyongyang across the border, South Korean military officials said on Friday, taking a step that has angered North Korea in the past.

Seoul decided to restart propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts against Pyongyang after North Korea announced this week that it had successfully tested a hydrogen nuclear device.

"We are putting out critical messages about Kim Jong Un's regime and its fourth nuclear test, saying North Korea's nuclear weapons development is putting its people in more difficult times economically," a military official said.

The loudspeaker broadcasts began at noon local time and another official said the military heightened the level of alert around the locations where the propaganda was being broadcast. According to reports, the broadcasts can be heard as far away as 12 miles from the border.

In the past, South Korea has particularly irritated North Korea by also broadcasting K-pop - Korean pop music that has gained a worldwide following for its distinctive sound - over the border, puncturing the isolated Communist state's media blackout.

These broadcasts are reportedly considered highly insulting in Pyongyang, because they are damaging to the dignity of leader Kim Jong Un.

When South Korea bombarded its neighbor with broadcasts of propaganda and pop music last August, North Korea massed troops at the border and unleashed artillery fire, in the two countries' most serious skirmish in some time. The August broadcasts were in retaliation for North Korea injuring two South Korean soldiers with mines.

There are reports that South Korea has already resumed the K-pop onslaught, with Yonhap, the country's biggest news agency, writing that the music has been accompanied by a "narrative of South Korea's achievements" as well as criticism of Kim Jong Un's human rights abuses.

But the UK has urged the country to go easy on the propaganda for fear of needlessly enraging North Korea.

"We urge South Korea to exercise restraint," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said during a visit in Japan. "It is simply rising to the bait."

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