by WorldTribune Staff, November 27, 2017
South Korea is employing a battery of loudspeakers along the DMZ to blast updates into North Korea on the escape of a soldier who made a daring dash to freedom across the heavily-guarded border earlier this month.
The South is using the FM Radio “Freedom Voice” system installed near the border to broadcast news on the 24-year-old soldier, identified only by his surname of Oh, who was shot several times by his former comrades while fleeing the communist North on Nov. 13.
“The nutritive conditions of the North Korean soldier who recently defected through Panmunjom were unveiled,” the South trumpets in one message, referring to Oh’s poor health upon arrival, according to Yonhap News agency.
Doctors treating Oh for the gunshots he absorbed during his defection also discovered he has tuberculosis, hepatitis B and parasitic worms in his ruptured small intestine.
The loudspeakers, which can be heard up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away, also are blaring news on how Oh escaped and that his former comrades violated a truce between the two nations by shooting at Oh after he had crossed into South Korea.
Seoul had in recent years stopped the loudspeaker broadcasts, but they resumed in January of this year after the North conducted its fourth nuclear test, according to Yonhap.
Meanwhile, reports say North Korea moved quickly to fortify the border area where Oh crossed.
A photo posted on the Twitter account of acting U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Marc Knapper showed North Korean workers digging a deep trench on the North Korean side of the line as soldiers looked on.
“Was at JSA today, the North Koreans have planted two trees and are digging a trench at the spot where their soldier crossed the MDL (military demarcation line),” Knapper tweeted.
North Korea also reportedly closed down the so-called 72-Hour Bridge that leads into Panmunjom from the North after Oh drove across it without being stopped, a South Korean military source said, according to a Chosun Ilbo report.
“All commodities for North Korean guards at Panmunjom are delivered through the bridge,” said Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “In that regard, it is probably closed temporarily for investigation and as a symbolic measure.”