Reporters Banned from Taking Laptops to N.Korea

  • By Yoon Hyung-jun

    February 13, 2019 12:12

    South Korean reporters were banned from taking laptops and cameras on a two-day trip to a cross-border event in the North Korean resort of Mt. Kumgang due to international sanctions.

    According to the Unification Ministry, 213 civilians including representatives from religious groups like Buddhism traveled overland Tuesday to the mountain resort for the event. About a dozen reporters accompanied them but were not allowed to bring their laptops and cameras.

    A ministry official said the reason was that Seoul had failed to complete talks with Washington on making an exception for them.

    Buses carrying South Korean religious leaders, civic group officials and lawmakers head to Mt. Kumgang resort in North Korea on Tuesday. /Newsis

    The official gave no details of why the items were banned, but the reason seems to be that U.S. regulations stipulate that any country needs express approval to export products made with more than 10 percent of American parts to countries on a blacklist of "state sponsors of terrorism," which include North Korea.

    It is unclear why reporters' private possessions would be qualified as exports. Indeed, reporters were repeatedly allowed to carry their equipment to the North to cover official and semi-official events last year.

    It seems that Washington has become noticeably stricter in enforcing sanctions against the North because it has become concerned about the pace of inter-Korean rapprochement and the softening of pressure on the North by South Korea.

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