SABRINA VERDUZCO WRITES – When that uptight next-door-neighbor yells at you about your music, sometimes the solution is to turn it up. South Korea took this advice to heart in response to North Korea’s most recent hydrogen bomb stunt in early January, countering the North’s explosive behavior by blasting K-pop on the loudspeakers.
Although scientists question the legitimacy of a successful nuclear test, they don’t deny the possibility that North Korea somehow successfully forged a hydrogen bomb.
In response to the nuclear test, South Korean officials made the executive decision to blast K-pop band, Big Bang’s chart-topping song “Bang Bang Bang” on the speakers placed within the South’s demilitarized zone with North Korea. Apparently, North Korean infrastructure is so fragile that the country’s government worries pop music could potentially be the cause of its downfall.
The South Koreans aren’t the only ones using their broadcast system to antagonize their neighbors, however. North Korea, too, has made many a petty attempt at wearing down South Korean nationalism by broadcasting messages containing anti-southern propaganda, reflecting Kim Jong Un’s growing desperation to salvage the North’s severely damaged reputation. Last year, such broadcasted propaganda from both side led to an exchange of gunfire across the 38th Parallel.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye explains that North Korea’s worrying behavior, which includes “cyber-terrorism”, has created the necessity to implement stricter sanctions. Although South Korea and the U.S.’s have been steady allies since the 50’s, Seoul and Washington have recently decided to look into deploying a Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense platform.
North Korea’s “irresponsible and provocative” behavior also puts strain on its relationship with economic partners. Despite being their main trading partner and ally, China isn’t charmed by the constant antagonism from Pyongyang, and it just might cost North Korea an alliance.
Overall, North Korea’s demeanor continually displays an image of unpredictability that further entrenches itself in the political, economic, and social hole that hinders any form of progression for the country. South Korea might be the North’s closest neighbor, but, as the most recent hydrogen bomb and K-pop conundrum demonstrates, tensions rise when the volume goes up.