Beijing has informed Seoul that it has blocked the services of South Korea’s two popular mobile messaging applications, KakaoTalk and Line, since earlier this month, according to a South Korean diplomat close to the matter.
He added that China has also indicated that the services would soon be unblocked.
Along with other foreign online services, including Yahoo’s photo-sharing site Flickr, users in China have been unable to access online services of KakaoTalk and Line for more than 10 days, the source said.
“It’s true that the services have been halted, and we are trying to get to the bottom of it,” a Line official told The Korea Herald.
A Kakao spokesperson also said that its services have partially been blocked since July 2, adding that Chinese users were only able to use its Internet phone VoiceTalk and chat one on one via KakaoTalk without being able to fully send emoticons.
Anti-censorship activists believe the new obstructions may have been devised by Chinese authorities to block information flow in the wake of the 25th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
“The Chinese side tells us that the blocks will not last for a long time, and I expect services to return to normal by the end of this month,” the envoy at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing said.
It is common knowledge that Chinese authorities keep tight control over the Internet. Most services of Google, the world’s biggest search engine, and all of Facebook and Twitter have previously been blocked in China.
By Park Hyong-ki and news reports