SEOUL--The invasion of popular South Korean dramas and music across the border into its hostile neighbor to the north is creating a new battleground for the North Korean military.
According to Yoon Sang-hyun, a lawmaker with South Korea's ruling and conservative Saenuri Party, South Korean TV programs have become so much a part of pop culture in North Korea that authorities there have had to reindoctrinate North Korean youth joining the military.
Yoon's comments about the spread of South Korean culture in North Korea were based on information obtained from South Korean government officials.
Yoon said South Korean movies and TV programs were recorded on CDs, DVDs and USB memory sticks and smuggled into North Korea over its border with China. While movies and TV dramas were popular until now, the recent trend has been an increase in recordings of popular culture, including music, and even news programs. It is not uncommon for popular South Korean programs to be available on the North Korean market about a week after their initial broadcast, Yoon said.
North Korean youth who have no knowledge of South Korean programs and music cannot join in conversations on those popular topics with their friends. Because even those who join the North Korean military cannot kick their addiction of watching South Korean programs, military officials have had to re-indoctrinate those new recruits to wean them of these "subversive" influences.
Although North Korean authorities are trying to clamp down on the inflow of such South Korean movies and TV shows, traders who have profited from smuggling such software have bribed officials to allow them to stay in business, making it difficult to torpedo the influences from the South.
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