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Seoul to step up monitoring fake news on N. Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)
The South Korean government will beef up efforts to monitor fake news on North Korea that "distort the policy environment" for inter-Korean relations, officials said Monday.

On Friday, the National Assembly approved a 1.5 trillion won ($1.27 billion) budget for the unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs next year, including 200 million won to launch the new monitoring program.

The program was suggested following "needs for a more systematic monitoring due to the frequent spread of false, fabricated information on North Korea on new media platforms which led to various negative consequences, including the distortion of policy environment," ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo told a regular press briefing.

The ministry will consult with experts to come up with a detailed plan on the new initiative, including who will be entrusted to carry out the business, as well as the scope and method of the monitoring activities, she said.

The move is the latest in a series of efforts by the ministry to prevent the spread of groundless rumors on the reclusive North, following last year's launch of a "fake news response" section on its website.

Meanwhile, Lee referred to a "speculative article," when asked about a recent media report claiming that South Korea was considering sending a letter from President Moon Jae-in to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss Seoul's push to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

"I don't think it's appropriate to comment on a speculative article," she said. (Yonhap)
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