Radio Free Asia reports stepped up North Korean jamming of foreign broadcasts.

Posted: 01 Jan 2013   Print   Send a link
Radio Free Asia, 19 Dec 2012, Joon Ho Kim: "North Korean authorities have intensified their jamming of foreign radio broadcasts since the beginning of December, blocking signals from South Korea and the United States almost every day during the last month of a year-long period of mourning for the country’s former leader Kim Jong Il, sources in China say. North Korean jamming is usually sporadic due to electricity outages and the cost of special facilities, but has now been continuous since Dec. 1, said a source in the border city of Dandong, in China's Liaoning province. 'Listening to RFA [Radio Free Asia] and VOA [Voice of America] is almost impossible due to static, which has continued since the first of this month,' the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A source in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China’s Jilin province confirmed that static had disrupted reception of RFA broadcasts, adding that broadcasts of South Korea’s KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) were also 'getting harder to hear.' North Korean jamming signals have also interfered with Chinese broadcasts, leaving state-run CRI (China Radio International) programs hard to listen to, said another source, who recently moved to China."

AP, 31 Dec 2012, Tim Sullivan: "The warning came from Kim Jong Un, the North Korean ruler who sees his isolated nation, just across the border from this busy Chinese trading town, as under siege. The attack, he said, must be stopped. ... The assault that he fears? It's being waged with cheap televisions rigged to receive foreign broadcasts, and with smuggled mobile phones that - if you can get a Chinese signal along the border - can call the outside world. Very often, it arrives in the form of wildly popular South Korean soap operas smuggled in on DVDs or computer thumb drives. In North Korea, a country where international phone calls and Internet connections exist only for a tiny fraction of a tiny elite, and televisions and radios must be permanently preset to receive only state broadcasts, it's Korean-language TV heartache they crave. 'South Korean dramas, that's what everyone wants,' grumbled a Seoul-based Christian missionary who runs a string of safe houses in this part of China, where his network helps people living underground after fleeing North Korea. ... Soap operas, at first, might not seem like conduits of underground information. But they are threats nonetheless, offering windows into worlds that North Koreans both lack and desire. ... [A]nalysts say smugglers appear to have shifted to new techniques, at least for videos: carrying recordings on tiny thumb drives, and then transferring the programs to DVDs inside North Korea."

Daily Yomiuri Online, 26 Dec 2012, Akihiro Takeda: "Broadcast of the shortwave radio program Shiokaze (sea breeze), which has been sending messages to Japanese abduction victims in North Korea since October 2005, has entered its eighth year. The Tokyo-based Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea (COMJAN), which runs the radio program in spite of repeated jamming believed to have come from North Korea and financial difficulties, plans to start middlewave [medium wave, or AM] radio broadcasting if the necessary funds can be mustered. ... Shiokaze broadcasts messages from abductees' families and news twice a day in four languages--Japanese, Korean, Chinese and English."

Makeshift, 12 Dec 2012, Chris Duffy: Groups sending messages via balloons to North Korea "have a variety of motives. Some overtly encourage revolution and defection. Others, such as North Korean Peace, focus on messages of friendship. The group uses balloons to send warm socks to North Korea. A leaflet is affixed to the socks: 'The world has not forgotten the current hardships of our fellow brothers and sisters in North Korea.'"

See previous post about calls to start a BBC Korean service.