South Korea unleashed a high-decibel propaganda barrage across the border on Friday in retaliation for North Korea’s nuclear bomb test this week, while the United States called on China to end “business as usual” with its ally Pyongyang.
The broadcasts, in rolling bursts from walls of loudspeakers at 11 locations along the heavily militarized border, blare rhetoric critical of the Pyongyang regime as well as “K-pop” music. The broadcasts, considered an insult by the North, led to an exchange of artillery fire the last time they were used.
South Korea, which has grown increasingly close to China in recent years, also said its foreign minister would speak with his Chinese counterpart later on Friday.
Wednesday’s test angered both the United States and China, which was not given prior notice, although the U.S. government and weapons experts doubt Pyongyang’s claim that the device it exploded was a hydrogen bomb.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday he had made clear in a phone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that China’s approach to North Korea has not succeeded.
“China had a particular approach that it wanted to make, that we agreed and respected to give them space to implement that,” Kerry told reporters. “Today in my conversation with the Chinese I made it very clear that has not worked and we cannot continue business as usual.”
China is the North’s main economic and diplomatic backer, although relations between the two Cold War allies have cooled in recent years.
China’s foreign ministry said after the call with Kerry that Beijing was willing to communicate with all parties, including the United States.
“Wang Yi stressed that China has staunchly dedicated itself to the goal of the peninsula’s denuclearization and to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a short statement.
South Korea’s foreign ministry had requested a phone call with Wang since directly after North Korea announced on Wednesday it had tested a hydrogen bomb, the South’s Yonhap News Agency said. However, the call had been delayed due to China’s “internal scheduling”, it said, citing an unnamed official.