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Inter-Korean Phone Link Restored

Posted December. 29, 2005 03:01,   


Direct telephone lines between the two Koreas were restored yesterday for the first time in 60 years.

Korea Telecom (KT) said that its Gaesong branch in the Gaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea held an opening ceremony for the re-opening of inter-Korean telephone links in the Gaesong Industrial Complex.

This event is expected to be an important stepping stone for inter-Korean IT cooperation projects that will be launched next year.

The direct telephone service between the two Koreas was restored for the first time in 60 years after the Soviet Union disconnected telecommunication networks ranging from Seoul to Haeju in 1945.

KT President Nam Jung-soo said, “KT will labor for the general good required for inter-Korean telecommunication exchanges.”

The KT branch in Gaesong plans to provide pilot units with telecommunication service, to embark on building a telecommunication center in a 3,000-pyeong site out of a 1,000,000-pyeong site, which will be created as a first step, in the second half of next year, and to offer telecommunication facilities containing 10,000 lines to it.

In addition, with its second step with a 2,500,000-pyeong site and third step with a 5,500,000-pyeong site in place, KT plans to provide cutting-edge IT facilities construction and their service to them.

Phone calls between the Gaesong Industrial Complex and the South have been carried out through a form of international calls via Japan. Companies have shouldered a big burden because the calling charges were at 230 cents per minute. But, thanks to this event, the fees have reduced to 40 cents per minute, one-sixth of the former fees.

When one calls from the Gaesong Industrial Complex to the South, one should use 089-domestic number and when one calls from the South to Gaesong, one should use 001-8585-XXXX.

The fees for installing telephones in the industrial complex reach $100 per line, and the fees for using the phones are $10 per month. Phone calls within the industrial complex cost three cents for every three minutes and phone calls between the industrial complex and the South cost 40 cents per minute.

Do-Young Kim nirvana1@donga.com