North Korea Revokes 3G Access for Tourists

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KNS / AFP / Getty Images

This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on February 16, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (4th R) and senior senior officials from the party, government and army posing before the statues of late leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il at Mangyongdae Revolutionary School in Pyongyang.

Well, that was quick. Just weeks after announcing that foreign visitors would be allowed access 3G networks, North Korea has changed course. Beijing-based Koryo Tours, which runs trips to the reclusive country, announced the change on its website:

3G access is no longer available for tourists to the DPRK [North Korea]. Sim cards can still be purchased to make international calls but no internet access is available.

The short-lived change, announced March 1, enabled out-of-towners to surf the web through Korolink’s 3G network. Last month, the Associated Press’s Pyongyang Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee was among the first to tweet from the inside.



The change of policy comes amid escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula. This week, the country cut its telephone connection to South Korea, TIME reported. “Under the situation where a war may break out any moment, there is no need to keep north-south military communications which were laid between the militaries of both sides,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said. “War and confrontation can never go together with dialogue and reconciliation under any circumstances.”

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