China blocks KakaoTalk for terror threat

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China blocks KakaoTalk for terror threat

China has blocked KakaoTalk and Line mobile messaging services because of concerns about potential terrorist activities in the country, according to Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning yesterday.

It was the first official explanation for service disruptions that began more than a month ago, just before Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Korea.

The ministry said the Chinese government indicated terrorism-related messages were distributed through five foreign-based messaging services. China said the suspect messages originated from Islamic countries.

China also blocked DiDi and Voxer from the United States, and Talkbox from Hong Kong.

WhatsApp, another widely used messaging application from the United States, is operating normally, said the ministry.

“The Chinese government yesterday said that those five foreign messaging services were found to carry conversations about terror-related activities,” said Lee Jin-kyu, director general for Internet policy at the ministry, at a press briefing yesterday at Gwacheon Government Complex.

“The Korean government hasn’t been able to check the actual messages.”

The Science Ministry said the Chinese authority did not disclose any details or whether any terror attacks took place.

The Korean government did not disclose any specific solutions or schedules to recover the service, and it declined to comment on how long the service disruption might continue.

“We still haven’t been able to determine the financial damages to the companies,” said Lee. “We started discussions on how to deal with this on July 4. We can’t really disclose any details because this is closely related to the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.”

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]





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