January 08, 2016 09:34
The government on Thursday laid out its responses to North Korea's nuclear test a day earlier. They include resuming propaganda broadcasts across the heavily armed border, which Seoul believes are a particular irritant to the regime.
"The North's nuclear test violated its obligations and commitments to the international community and failed to honor the Aug. 25 agreement" between the two Koreas, said Cho Tae-yong of the Office of National Security after a meeting of the National Security Council.
"As a result, the government has decided to resume the propaganda broadcasts at noon on Jan. 8."
Under the August agreement, Seoul halted the broadcasts until any "abnormal" events should take place.
The government is also mulling the deployment of U.S. strategic bombers and other weapons systems on the Korean Peninsula, and examining its economic and diplomatic options.
Seoul asked Washington to deploy its B-52 bombers, B-2 stealth bombers, F-22 stealth fighter jets, Los Angeles-class nuclear submarines stationed in Japan and the U.S. 7th Fleet, including the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan.
North Korea reacts very sensitively whenever B-52 and B-2 bombers operate over South Korean air space.
The Unification Ministry will also restrict South Koreans from entering the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex to ensure their safety and pressure the North, which needs the money the complex makes more urgently.
Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo told the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee that "civilian contacts and visits to the North will be tentatively suspended." The government told South Korean staff in the industrial complex to exercise caution.
The propaganda broadcasts blared across the border from loudspeakers apparently alarm the regime, which fears its effects on underpaid soldiers and ordinary people in the area, who are much more cut off from outside communication than in other parts of the country.
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