N. Korea's communist paper opens English website

SEOUL, January 12, 2012 (AFP) - North Korea's main newspaper has opened an English-language website, the country's latest move to strengthen its online presence after forays into Facebook and Twitter.

The website of Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, carries news and photos about its young new leader Kim Jong-Un and domestic political events along with fierce criticism of South Korea's government.

A section called "the Supreme Leader's Activities" details events involving Kim Jong-Un since the death on December 17 of his father and longtime ruler Kim Jong-Il.

Other articles included Exhibition Full of Domestic Products, Fascinating Frostwork and Kim Jong-Il and the Development of Cinema Art.

The South's Yonhap news agency, which monitors the North's media, said the website (www.rodong.rep.kp/InterEn) was established Tuesday.

The reclusive impoverished state has strengthened propaganda efforts on the Internet since 2010 when Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing its warship with the loss of 46 lives. The North angrily denied involvement.

The North since then has opened accounts on major Internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to post material in Korean and English that claim its innocence and criticise the South and the United States.

The South blocks access by its citizens to the North's websites under a tough national security law.

The North is believed to have an elite unit of hackers but relatively few of its citizens have access to a computer, let alone the Internet.