October 06, 2010 09:14
The Defense Ministry is preparing to enlarge the range of propaganda broadcasts and float radios to North Korea, which is refusing to admit responsibility for the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March.
During a National Assembly audit of the Defense Ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said the ministry is preparing to switch the format of propaganda broadcasts from FM to AM and float balloons carrying AM radios to the North so that North Koreans can listen to the broadcasts.
The South has in the past sent many radios to the North, Kim said. He added the balloons will also carry propaganda leaflets.
"We've already put psychological pressure on the North merely by installing loudspeakers for propaganda broadcasts at 11 locations" along the military demarcation line, the minister claimed. But he added that the government will not start the broadcasts and send the leaflets, which are ready, until the North launches a fresh provocation and there is therefore an urgent need to put pressure on the North.
Meanwhile, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek the same day made it clear that package tours to the Mt. Kumgang resort area can resume only if the North apologizes for attacking the Cheonan.
In the National Assembly audit of the Unification Ministry, he said, "Resumption of the Mt. Kumgang tour program is linked to everything," such as the North's freezing and confiscation of South Korean property in the mountain resort and the sinking of the Cheonan.
The North is increasingly keen to resume the lucrative tours as international sanctions have dried out cash flow. The tours were suspended after a South Korean tourist was shot dead in the resort area in July 2008.
Seoul has previously demanded an inquiry and apology for the shooting and a guarantee that such incidents will not recur to resume the tours. But Hyun said that even if the North meets the three conditions, the government will keep in effect the sanctions imposed in May over the Cheonan sinking.
The sanctions halt all inter-Korean business except the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
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