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South Korea Stops Its K-Pop Blast Ahead Of Meeting With The North

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The leaders of North and South Korea will meet on Friday. And ahead of that summit, things have gotten quieter in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries. For the moment, no more of this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIGBANG SONG, "BANG BANG BANG")

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

South Korea has been blasting K-pop through speakers aimed at North Korea in the DMZ. It's also played anti-communist propaganda, programming that highlights how difficult life is in the North and how great things are in the South.

SHAPIRO: Well, today...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BANG BANG BANG")

BIGBANG: (Singing in Korean).

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORD SCRATCH)

SHAPIRO: South Korea's Ministry of Defense announced that it had switched those speakers off to help develop a peaceful summit atmosphere.

CHANG: South Korea hopes North Korea will do the same, though we should note North Korea's speakers were already far less audible. They've had technical issues. Nat Kretchun studies information flow into and within North Korea. He says while these counter-broadcasts have been used on and off for decades, they're more of a political tool than a means for reaching a wide population.

NAT KRETCHUN: The only people on either side that are in broadcast reach are forward-deployed soldiers. And the kind of content that these things broadcast generally are not going to change the mind of soldiers on the frontlines.

SHAPIRO: So he says both sides consider the broadcasts politically significant. So they're useful in moments like this.

KRETCHUN: This is a very high-level summit. And there was very little lead up to it. And so I think both sides are looking for ways that they can pre-empt this summit with displays of good faith.

SHAPIRO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets South Korean president Moon Jae-in in the DMZ on Friday.

(SOUNDBITE OF KAKI KING'S "SO MUCH FOR SO LITTLE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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