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Bans on access to N. Korean websites lifted all at once

Posted May. 11, 2018 07:36,   

Updated May. 11, 2018 07:36


South Korea’s blocking of North Korean Internet sites has been lifted since Wednesday evening, drawing attention to what caused the removal of the blockade.

Based on The Dong-A Ilbo’s checking, Internet sites that the North opened overseas have been accessible from South Korea through mobile phones and laptop computers since Wednesday evening. There are at least 30 known North Korean websites opened overseas. The blocking of access to those websites from South Korea has been lifted at once.

On Thursday, most of the North Korean websites were still accessible from South Korea via personal computers and mobiles phones, despite occasional reconnections to a government warning messages on some computers and mobile devices.

Blocking of access to North Korean websites is implemented through the Korea Communications Commission’s (KCC) order given to mobile and Internet service operators upon requests from the police and the National Security Service. Therefore, the wholesale lifting of access bans on North Korean websites seems to have been ordered by the KCC or higher authorities. Given the sensitivity of the issue, the order is presumed to have come from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae but it has yet to be confirmed who led the removal of the access ban.

The South Korean government had banned access to North Korea’s overseas websites. If one tried to access a North Korean website, local Internet service providers redirected the access requests to a South Korean web page showing a warning message against accessing a “harmful” website in compliance with the KCC’s decision.

Sung-Ha Joo zsh75@donga.com