March 27, 2018 12:29
North Korean authorities have mobilized security forces and state media to prevent the spread of foreign cultural content ahead of a concert by scores of South Korean performers.
One source said state security and police are clamping down on radio reception, foreign movies, storage devices and Chinese-made mobile phones along the border with China.
Already a score of people were arrested in Onsong and Hoeryong in North Hamgyong Province in the two weeks since the crackdown started, the source added. Authorities are using cutting-edge eavesdropping equipment to ferret out people who make phone calls to the outside world.
The military is also cracking down on the spread of South Korean pop culture. One source in the North Korean military said state security agents had been sent out to conduct searches of officers and ordinary troops. They question villagers near military bases about soldiers watching South Korean TV dramas.
About 20 military officers have apparently been arrested in military bases in North Hamgyong and Ryanggang provinces.
The state media meanwhile are urging North Koreans to maintain their ideological soundness and remain vigilant against foreign influences. The Rodong Sinmun daily on Monday called on readers to "intensify the struggle to root out various foreign ideologies and phenomenon that undermine socialism."
One researcher at a state-run think tank in Seoul said, "The measures appear to aim at enforcing discipline amid eased tensions ahead of summits with South Korea and the U.S."
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