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Seoul-Pyongyang Private Phone Links Possible

Posted August. 17, 2007 03:02,   


The South Korean government, as part of an IT cooperation plan that will be discussed at the second inter-Korean summit meeting, will try to establish direct, private telephone links between Seoul and Pyongyang.

There are telephones for direct communications for talks between the two governments and for military purposes, but the private sector has had to use services provided by a Japanese firm via communications satellite.

A government insider said yesterday, “The number of Korean tourists visiting Pyongyang is increasing every year, and economic cooperation between the two is booming. That’s why we are considering the idea of connecting Seoul and Pyongyang by phone in order to boost the level of communications convenience.”

The government discussed this matter in a meeting earlier this month with the Ministry of Unification, National Intelligence Service, Ministry of Information and Communication, KT (Korea Telecom), and other communications organizations.

At the meeting, according to an official, it was said, “There are optic cables installed between Munsan in the South and Gaesong in the North that were used for video-meetings between separated families in 2005, which means there are no technical barriers to direct phone service. Security issues, however, need to be resolved.”

According to KT, optic cables will be used between Munsan and Gaesong, and when a switchboard is installed in Seoul and Pyongyang, millions of people will be able to talk on the phone simultaneously.

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