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These are the K-pop tunes now being blared into North Korea

South Korea is hitting back after its rival claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

SOUTH KOREA IS trying to get under the skin of its arch-rival with border broadcasts that feature not only criticism of North Korea’s nuclear programme, troubled economy and human rights abuses, but also a unique homegrown weapon: K-pop.

Performers on the propaganda playlist Seoul began blasting across the border Friday today include a female K-pop band that rose to fame when its members fell multiple times on stage, and a middle-aged singer who rose from obscurity last year with a song about living for 100 years.

The broadcasts are in retaliation for the North’s nuclear test on Wednesday.

South Korea uses propaganda to boast of its democracy system and its culture, but the defence ministry says K-pop songs will also pique interests of the listeners in the North.

Lee Ae-ran, 100 Years of Life

A song by Lee Ae-ran whose title can be translated as “100 years of life” sends messages to death, or a god from the underworld, saying it isn’t yet time to say goodbye to living.

It was so popular among young and old that Kakao Talk, South Korea’s most popular messenger app, created emoticons, or animated images, from the music video.

The song inspired a host of online parodies and memes, and political parties reportedly sought to use it in their campaigns during upcoming general elections.

Source: 이기오/YouTube

GFriend, Me Gustas Tu

Also echoing over the Demilitarized Zone is GFriend’s Me Gustas Tu, about a girl who is trying to muster courage and overcome shyness to ask a boy out.

GFriend rose to fame last year when a fan posted a video on YouTube showing its members standing up after falling several times on a slippery stage to complete an outdoor performance.

The YouTube video has nearly 9 million views since it was uploaded in September.

Source: smile -wA-/YouTube

Big Bang, Bang Bang Bang

Another song on the playlist is Bang Bang Bang, a recent hit by A-list K-pop boy band Big Bang.

Its chorus goes: “Like you’ve been shot/Bang Bang Bang”.

Source: BIGBANG/YouTube

A Pink, Let Us Just Love

The final song on the playlist is by popular female group Apink.

Let Us Just Love was the theme song for the 2011 South Korean soap opera Protect the Boss.

Source: i1we/YouTube

North Koreans are prohibited from listening to K-pop, and are allowed to listen only to government-controlled radio stations or TV channels.

Despite that, North Korean defectors say South Korean music is popular in their home country, with songs and other elements of South Korea popular culture smuggled in on USB sticks and DVDs.

Read: UN to prepare measures against North Korea over detonation of ‘hydrogen bomb’

Read: What is a hydrogen bomb?

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Associated Press

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