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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 242 (Dec. 27, 2012)

President Lee Orders Preparation against N.K. Provocation at Transition Time

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak instructed the Cabinet on Dec. 24 to make thorough preparations against a possible North Korean provocation during Seoul's power transition.

   President-elect Park Geun-hye will take office in February, with her transition team set to be announced this week.

   Presiding over the Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Lee told ministers to make "close preparations" including analyzing relevant information to guard against possible provocations by North Korea at the time of the transition, according to presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha.

   Pointing to the lack of a well-established culture for transferring to the next government, Lee asked the officials to strive for a smooth transition, and to "create a new culture of wrapping up tasks well to the end despite some confusion," according to spokesman Park.


South Korea to Maintain Analog TV Signals for Programs Sent to North Korea

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korea will maintain an analog TV signal system for broadcasts sent to North Korea so residents there can continue to view programs made by local stations, a government official said on Dec. 25.

   A government official, who did not want to be identified, said a meeting of related agencies was held recently, with participants agreeing to maintain an analog system for TV transmissions across the border.

   North Koreans are banned from seeing South Korean TV, but defectors have claimed that the proliferation of foreign-made television sets and lack of any effective means to check on the private lives of people have allowed some to gain access to the South's programming.

   The decision comes as Seoul has switched to a digital broadcasting regime to reflect advances in media technology. The North, however, has not been able to make similar changes.

   The official said concerns were raised that if Seoul halted analog transmissions altogether, people in the North would no longer be able to see programs from the South.