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Gaesong Telephone Line Delayed

Posted June. 14, 2005 03:03,   


The direct telephone line between South Korea and the industrial complex in Gaesong, North Korea, which was originally set to launch on May 31, was reportedly delayed due to a determination on whether telecom equipment should be classified as strategic products. If it is, additional negotiations with the U.S. will be required to decide on the export of that equipment to North Korea.

Of the 15 types of telecom equipment KT wanted a determination on concerning whether they were strategic products or not, one switchboard and three personal computers are still in the process, according to the Strategic Trade Information Center of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), and KT, South Korea’s fixed-line operator, on June 13.

The determination is the responsibility of the Strategic Trade Information Center and its regulations require the process to be completed within 15 days, but in this case it has been delayed for about a month.

The South Korean government and KT have made excuses until now, saying that North Korea’s line construction has not proceeded as scheduled.

If the product is ruled as a strategic product category, KT will need approval from the Ministry of Unification to proceed. In addition, if it is found contrary to the export administration regulations (EAR) of the U.S., KT will also have to negotiate with the U.S.

“In order to discuss the export of telecom equipment, we just started consultations with the U.S. Department of Commerce,” said Jo Myeong-gyun, South Korea`s Unification Ministry project director.

Suk-Min Hong Chang-Won Kim smhong@donga.com changkim@donga.com