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China removes electromagnetic fence to pressure N. Korea

China removes electromagnetic fence to pressure N. Korea

Posted May. 05, 2017 07:15,   

Updated May. 05, 2017 07:20


Various sources testify that direct mobile phone calls have been available from North Korea inlands to Korea since mid-April. Experts analyze that China may have removed the “electromagnetic fence,” which blocked North Korea from mobile phone signals.

A well-informed source told on Wednesday that an acquaintance in North Korea directly called the source via a Chinese mobile phone from a residence 60 kilometers away from the border line between North Korea and China around mid-April. “When a signal was picked up, the acquaintance hesitated a while (to check whether it was a trap set by North Korean authorities), and then called Seoul,” the informant said. “The caller was shocked to realize the call was connected.” Possibilities are high that Beijing suspended its cooperation with the North on mobile communications, as China once again chose to levy restrictions.

Pyongyang has been extremely strict on limiting their people from contacting outside their borders, as it may become direct threat to maintaining its reclusive regime. As a result, China has been preventing mobile signals from reaching further into North Korean inlands upon Pyongyang’s request.

The phone call to outside world from the inlands were available as soon as the U.S. and Chinese leaders discussed sanctions on North Korea to eliminate North Korean nuclear via the phone on April 12. China temporarily suspended its triweekly Beijing-Pyongyang route operated by Air China on April 14 right before the “Day of the Sun (or North Korea's founding father Kim Il Sung’s birthday),” and closed down group tours to the North the next day.

Against this backdrop, Pyongyang issued an editorial titled “Stop the reckless words and actions which mar the N. Korean-Chinese relations” on its Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday. It also strongly denounced that China has violently trampled on the red line between the two nations, and is crossing the line without hesitation.

“It is very rare for North Korean media to mention China directly or comment on the red line,” said Cho Joon-hyuk, spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This may be showing that an all-out sanctions against North Korea is working.”

Sung-Ha Joo zsh75@donga.com · Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com