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YouTube Removes North Korea Propaganda Channel

FILE - This screen grab taken Aug. 21, 2017, from an undated YouTube video released by Uriminzokkiri shows Ted Dresnok, right, son of US defector to North Korea James Joseph Dresnok, and his brother, James, during an interview at an unknown location. Uriminzokkiri, the state-run North Korea propaganda channel, has now been pulled from the YouTube website.

YouTube, citing violation of "community guidelines," removed the state-run North Korea propaganda channel, Uriminzokkiri, from its website.

"This account has been terminated for violating YouTube's community guidelines," YouTube said.

The video-sharing website did not immediately respond to requests about why the channel had been removed Friday, according to media reports. Revenue generated from advertising on the account, however, may have violated U.S. trade sanctions, resulting in the suspension, media reports stated.

Uriminzokkiri, part of the country's propaganda arm, frequently posts video of state TV news clips. Its video content seems targeted for North Koreans living abroad, The Guardian reported. The channel also shows footage of missile launches as well as official tours taken by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea researchers and academics said the removal of channels is a cause for concern, as is their content.

'Insight' valued

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said he uses the propaganda channels to better understand North Korea's nuclear capabilities.

"When [Kim] visits a factory in the middle of nowhere and stares at machine tools, it provides an important insight into the progress they are making," Lewis told The Guardian.

Scott Lafoy, a Washington-based satellite imagery analyst, told NK News, "It is incredibly frustrating for researchers who use North Korean propaganda for analytic purposes. ... Tracking and digitally reconstructing events is going to be more difficult as these accounts get deleted."

According to YouTube, the channel had 18,000 subscribers.

The move by YouTube came amid action by the U.S. to impose harsher sanctions on North Korea after its sixth nuclear test, in which it claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb September 3.

Late Friday, the United States formally requested a vote of the U.N. Security Council on Monday of a draft resolution to establish new sanctions against North Korea, according to a statement by the U.S. mission.

A draft of the resolution calls for a ban on the sale of oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas liquids to North Korea.