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North Korea intensifies crackdown on K-drama, other pop culture from South

SEOUL -- North Korea is stepping up efforts to curb its citizens' exposure to South Korean popular culture, according to Seoul, including cracking down on television dramas that are widely enjoyed throughout Asia and have even helped inspire defections from the totalitarian country.

The nation's Unification Ministry, which manages relations with the North and monitors it closely, said authorities are handing out increasingly severe punishments, including the death penalty, for anyone who consumes or distributes South Korean cultural content.