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Telephone Service Between ROK and DPRK to Start

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to begin telephone service between ROK and an industrial park in the DPRK's Kaesong city on May 31, said ROK largest fixed-line telephone operator KT Corp. on Friday.

The fixed-line phone charges were set at 40 cents a minute, Kim Byung-joo, executive vice-president of KT, was quoted as saying by ROK's Yonhap News Agency in a press briefing on Friday.

"The start of telephone service has historic importance because a fixed-line phone line will be connected for the first time in 60 years since the Korean Peninsula was divided," Kim told reporters.

"We will continue to discuss with our North Korean (DPRK) counterpart on our offer to provide Internet service for the Kaesong industrial park," Kim said.

Calls from the Kaesong industrial park, located about 10 kilometers north of the sealed inter-Korean border that divides the two countries, will be made using the signal code 089 and then the telephone number, Kim said.

The installment fee in the Kaesong industrial park is set at US$100 per telephone line with a monthly basic subscription rate of US$10, KT said.

The Kaesong industrial park is a product of a historic summit between then ROK President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 in Pyongyang.

So far, the South Korean government has approved 15 labor-intensive enterprises to move into the pilot zone of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

(Xinhua News Agency March 25, 2005)

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