Wireless Comms, Internet in Kaesong Industrial Complex and Kumgang Mountain Tourist Resort

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 07-12-17-1

12/17/2007

North and South Korea are poised to allow Internet, telephone, and cellular services to be available in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) and at the Kumgang Mountain Tourist Resort beginning next year. The 7th Defense Ministerial Talks opened on December 12 at the ‘Peace House’ on the South Korean side of Panmunjum, and at the meeting, North and South Korea reached an agreement regarding communications, transportation, and customs.

According to the agreement, Pyongyang has given permission for the use of Internet landlines and cellular phones in the two largest inter-Korean cooperative projects. However, while the South Koreans pushed for the inclusion of “mobile phones” in the agreement, the North insisted on “wireless telephone communications”, suggesting that they hope to use dual-use wired telephones rather than mobile cellular phones.

In addition, under the agreement, North and South Korean rail and road traffic will be allowed to cross the border daily from 7:00am to 10pm, with the exception of Sundays and official holidays. Currently traffic in the area is limited to 7am~6pm in the summer, and 8am~5pm in the winter months.

The two sides also agreed to new procedures aimed at simplifying customs inspections and reducing delivery delays. From now on, the two sides will exchange lists of goods being moved, after which time any specific good that is flagged will be inspected. Currently, both sides are required to supply a list of goods to be pass through the area three days in advance, and every piece is individually inspected, complicating customs procedures.

The agreement was signed ROK Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo and Kim Il-chul, minister of the DPRK People’s Armed Forces, and went into effect on December 13. With this agreement, exchange and cooperation in the KIC and Kumgang Mountain resort are expected to even more actively grow.

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