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					North is said to cut back phone use
Brent Choi


June 08, 2005 ㅡ North Korea is aggressively asserting greater control over domestic and international
communications, apparently out of fear the United States could launch a preemptive military strike on the
country, two sources with closeconnections to North Korea have suggested.


Starting in April, the sources said Pyongyang blocked 90 percent of its international phone lines to hinder leaks
of information to the outside world. Before April, the North operated 970 international phone lines, but the
sources said a direct order came from the North's leader, Kim Jong-il, to cut the lines. The North Korean
Foreign Ministry is now said to operate with just two lines, while the North's military operates another two and
the Ministry of Foreign Trade possesses one.


In another measure, the sources said Pyongyang has also impounded 20,000 cell phones since May of last year
after the North Korean authorities came to believe cell phone calls leaked news of a massive explosion at the
rail station in the town of Ryongchon. North Korean citizens who paid $1,200 as a deposit on the cell phones
are said to have been angered because the deposits are not being returned. Cell phone service in the North was
started in August of 2002.


The regime, the sources said, has also tightened its grip by severely limiting access to the outside world
through the Internet. Only two government departments are said to have Internet links. The internal intranet
that was previously available to North Korean colleges such as the Kim Il Sung University has also been shut
down, the sources said.


-Chairman Kim Jong-il has relegated Jang Seong-thaek, his brother-in-law and the ‘second man to the throne’
to a more leisurely post last February.There aren't much details to this event but it had something to do with
the heir issue. There were several reports that Jang will return to Pyongyang political arena soon. But that's not
true! According to my source who familiar to Pyongyang inside, Jang is still under 're-education session' . Also,
there is very strong speculation circling in Pyongyang that Kim Jong-il stop Jang's return at final stage.


-Kim Jong-Il control Korean Workers Party and Korean People's Army through two key persons, Mr. Lee Je-
kang and Mr. Lee Yong-chul. Both persons has very sticky relations with Kim Jong-il more than twenty years.


"Since a preemptive strike scenario surfaced in 2003, North Korea has been in a semi-state of war, and it is
likely to continue until the six-party talks resume," said Jung Chang-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies
at Kookmin University.




By email 8 June 2005

Brent Choi
North Korea Specialist
The Joongang Daily
Sun-wha-Dong 7 Joong Ku
Seoul 100-759 Korea
Ph:(822) 751-5409
Fax: (822) 751-5420
brent1@joongang.co.kr
June 7, 2005
Dear Friend:
Attached is my recent North Korea inside information.
Your criticism and comments are welcome as always.
regards,
Brent Choi
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