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S. Korea seeking to toughen regulations on internet-based exchanges with N. Korea

All News 10:36 April 19, 2021

SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking to require its citizens to win government approval in advance before exchanging digital files of films or books with North Koreans via the internet, the unification ministry said Monday.

In January, the ministry proposed revising the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act in a way that requires approval from the unification minister for cross-border exchanges of "immaterial things" via electronic tools and information and communication networks.

Under the proposed revision, anyone who wants to send or receive such materials as emails, movie files and scanned books through the internet across the border should win prior approval from the minister.

"So far, files in USB drives have been controlled broadly as 'immaterial things.' But as the ways of exchange have been diversified, the revision is aimed to increase clarification," a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The official, however, denied a media report that the proposed law revision is aimed at restricting radio broadcasts across the border to North Korean people.

"We are not considering at all restricting civic groups' radio broadcasting toward the North," the official said.

Currently, all inter-Korean contact should be approved in advance or reported to the government afterward, as the two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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