The New Yorker:
These days, the eeriest thing about the demilitarized zone in Korea, the world’s most fortified border, is the silence. From a South Korean mountaintop, you can peer through a powerful telescope across the no man’s land of the D.M.Z., past the wide Imjin River, and into the rising hills of North Korea. On the other side, an enormous statue of the country’s late founding father, Kim Il Sung, is posed confidently astride a pedestal, facing south, as if he were heading in that direction.
For years, both Koreas waged psychological war along this hundred-and-sixty-mile frontier. From the South, banks of huge loudspeakers—some stationary and some mobile—blared news from the outside world, messages urging North Koreans to defect, and annoying K-pop music. They were so loud that they could be heard six to twelve miles away. In 2015, North Korea threatened to attack the sound system for its critical and high-decibel-blasting broadcasts about the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang countered with its own propaganda, albeit less audibly, because of electricity shortages.
This month, the loudspeakers on both sides were dismantled. It was the first step taken after the summit of Korean leaders, on April 27th, and ahead of President Trump’s meeting with Kim, on June 12th. The only sound in the D.M.Z.—for now, anyway—is a howling wind.
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