K-Town

South Korea Shuts Off Loudspeakers Playing K-Pop at the DMZ Ahead of Summit

South Korea North Korea
KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images

South Korean soldier tear down a battery of propaganda loudspeakers along the border with North Korea in Paju on June 16, 2004. 

Since 2015, some of K-pop’s biggest hits have been blasting across the inter-Korean border, known as the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ, as a form of propaganda, but warming relations between North and South Koreas have resulted in the music being shut off today, as the New York Times reports.

The likes of BIGBANG and GFriend were silenced as loudspeakers along the DMZ were shut off just a few days before South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s Supreme Leaders meet in the region on Friday for a summit. 

South Korea's Defense Ministry reportedly decided to turn off the music to "ease military tensions and create a peaceful mood for the meeting."

The pair of leaders will reportedly discuss denuclearization and an end of frequent hostilities that followed the 1953 Korean War Armistice. The two will meet in the border village of Panmunjom, which sits within range of the broadcasts.

“We hope that our move today will result in South and North Korea ending mutual slandering and propaganda against each other and creating a peaceful new beginning,” the ministry reportedly said in a statement.

Loudspeaker propaganda has been used sporadically by both sides since the Armistice, with upticks in broadcasting following heightened tensions. According to the BBC, broadcasts of South Korean music and news are aimed at North Korean soldiers near the border to doubt what they’re hearing from their leadership. North Korean broadcasts are similarly aimed at South Korean troops.

The end of the K-propaganda follows this month’s concert in Pyongyang, where several South Korean artists, including K-pop girl group Red Velvet and Seohyun of Girls' Generation, performed in front of a North Korean audience, which included Kim Jong Un.