South Korea to lift ban on North Korea TV, newspapers despite tensions

A man walks past TV monitors displaying a news program at an electronic shop in Seoul, South Korea, on Oct. 14, 2014, showing a North Korean newspaper with a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiling, reportedly during his first public appearance in five weeks in Pyongyang, North Korea. The writing reads, "Honorable Kim Jong Un." South Korea plans to lift its decades-long ban on public access to North Korean television, newspapers and other media as part of its efforts to promote mutual understanding between the rivals, officials said Friday, July 22, 2022, despite animosities over the North's recent missile tests. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea plans to lift its decadeslong ban on public access to North Korean television, newspapers and other media as part of its efforts to promote mutual understanding between the rivals, officials said Friday, despite animosities over the North's recent missile tests.

Divided along the world's most heavily fortified border since 1948, the two Koreas prohibit their citizens from visiting each other's territory and exchanging phone calls, emails and letters, and they block access to each other's websites and TV stations.

In a policy report to new President Yoon Suk Yeol on Friday, South Korea's Unification Ministry said it will gradually open the door for North Korean broadcasts, media and publications to try to boost mutual understanding, restore the Korean national identity and prepare for a future unification.

Ministry