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Foreign Office, corporation bosses and US officials discuss plans to establish BBC Korea

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

December 31, 2012 | 2 min read

According to a report by the Independent, US officials are encouraging proposals laid out by the Foreign Office and BBC World Service bosses to broadcast programmes aimed at North Korean residents, to help open up the most secret country on earth.

At present, BBC World Service transmits to 188 million in 27 countries but has never broadcast a Korean service. This is partly because North Korea arrests citizens discovered listening to foreign media and sends them to camps where more than 150,000 political prisoners are believed to be held.

However, Barack Obama’s administration are said to believe that the BBC’s reputation for impartiality could help build up trust with communist state’s population of 24 million, who are increasingly ignoring the state ban on accessing foreign media.

Head of the BBC World Service, Peter Horrocks, is set to discuss the matter in Westminster with MPs from the All Party Group on North Korea early in the New Year.

Lord Alton, who leads the group, which has also met with the Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire, said: “Within the last month I have had discussions with senior [US] State Department officials. They are very positive about the idea of the BBC becoming involved in transmission.”

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