S Korea retaliates against the North, resumes broadcasts

RSTV Bureau
Photo - AP/PTI

Seoul: A TV screen showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. North Korea said Wednesday it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, a defiant and surprising move that, if confirmed, would put Pyongyang a big step closer toward improving its still-limited nuclear arsenal. The letters read: ” About 4.3-magnitude earthquake was detected in North Korea. ” Photo: AP/PTI

Two days after the alleged Hydrogen-bomb test by North Korea, South Korea has swung into action against its northern rival. On Friday, the South Korean Parliament passed a resolution to denounce North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.

“I declare that the resolution condemning the fourth nuclear test by North Korea and urging North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programme has passed,” said South Korea’s national assembly speaker, Chung Ui-hwa, during a plenary session.

The resolution also urged the South Korean government to secure capabilities to defend itself against the North’s nuclear capabilities, reported Seoul’s news agency, Yonhap.

Not just that, the South also resumed its anti-North broadcasts along its border which it had stopped in August last year after a truce deal was signed.

The high-decibel broadcasts from 11 locations along the heavily-guarded border began blaring on Friday afternoon. The broadcasts severely criticise the North Korean regime apart from blaring out “K-pop” music.

Seoul claimed that the latest nuclear test by North Korea was a “grave violation” of the agreement reached between the two countries in August 2015. It was the same agreement that had made South Korea stop its loudspeaker propaganda.

The resumption of the loudspeakers by South Korea is expected to escalate the tension between the Korean countries. Thus, the South has raised its military alert to the highest level in areas near the loudspeakers. It has also stepped up its cyber security alert level and cancelled tours of the Demilitarised Zone at the border.

“The nuclear test is making North Korea more isolated and turning it into the land of death,” said one of the loudspeaker messages.

The sound from the speakers can carry up to 10 kms (6 miles) into North Korea during the day and more than 20 kms at night, Yonhap reported.

The North too stepped up its troop deployments in front-line units even as the South vowed to retaliate against any attack on the equipment.

However the South Korean unification ministry says the government is not yet considering shutting down the Kaesong industrial complex run jointly with North Korea.

Meanwhile both Japan and China urged North Korea to stick to the de-nuclearisation pledges it had taken.

“China urges North Korea to honour and return back to the commitment to denuclearisation, and to stop taking any action that could cause a deterioration of the situation,” said Hua Chunying, spokesperson at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Japanese lawmakers also voted unanimously to pass a resolution condemning North Korea’s nuclear test.

“I look to strongly criticize them. This is going against relationships such as UN security decisions, Japan-Pyongyang decisions, or the decision of the six- party talks. This is a test for the international response to dealing with non-nuclear proliferation,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after the vote was passed.

(With inputs from agencies)