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N.K. distributes manual on photo ban to foreign diplomats

All News 15:33 January 18, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has banned foreign diplomats stationed in the country from taking pictures of military facilities and construction sites, a U.S. Internet news outlet specializing in the North reported Wednesday, citing a North Korean handbook it recently obtained.

"The manual, called 'Protocol Handbook for the Diplomatic Corps based in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK),' includes regulations to be observed before and during a journey," the Washington-based NK News said. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the North's official name.

The manual names sites where photography is allowed and where it is banned, it said.

According to the handbook, the photo ban is applied to "organizations and personnel at the Ministry of People's Armed Forces and the Ministry of People's Security, military bases, munitions factories, military airports, the state's important institutions and factories, enterprises, scientific research institutes, power plants, storage facilities, underground facilities and structures."

Construction sites that have yet to be cleaned up and the scenes of accidents, as well as unpublished publications and creative devices, were also placed on the prohibited list, the manual said.

In case of photographing locals, diplomats should get a prior permit from them, and respect their opinions and personalities, the manual says.

Reminding that diplomats are obliged to be accompanied by minders on trips, the manual also lists areas where they are not allowed to visit.

The entire Jagang Province and the northern part of the Chongchon River of North Phyongan Province and Pukchang County of South Phyongan Province are forbidden areas, the manual says without giving specific reasons.

The guide also says diplomats can't visit the southern part of the boundary line connecting Sangwon and Sariwon of North Hwanghae Province, Wonsan of Gangwon Province, Sinchon of South Hwanghae Province, and cities and counties located in the border area and near the Military Demarcation Line bisecting the two Koreas.

Diplomats who want to visit and travel to these provinces have to inform the relevant departments -- the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of People's Armed Forces and the Ministry of External Economic Affairs -- five days in advance to receive permission. They must also notify the North Korean government 20 days before visiting the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom and give a notice by phone three days before touring the capital of Pyongyang, the manual says.

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