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Clarification Regarding .KP Country Code Top-Level Domain

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.: A number of incorrect media reports are circulating that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the manager of the domain name system root zone — is scheduled to approve ".KP" as the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) at ICANN's meeting in Los Angeles in October.

At the present time there is no delegated operator for the .KP domain, but ICANN has received a request to delegate the domain. This request was discussed by the ICANN Board at its meeting on 14 August 2007. The agenda of that meeting is a matter of public record, and the minutes will be published shortly. No decision was made on the delegation during this meeting.

At this time the issues slated for discussion at the board meeting in Los Angeles have yet to be determined.

As well, media reports have quoted Suh Jae-Chul as a member of the ICANN board, though this person is not on ICANN's board, nor has been authorized to speak on ICANN's behalf.

Two-letter country code top-level domains were first introduced in the mid-1980s to provide local Internet communities within countries with their own locally-managed Internet domains. From the outset it was deemed that selecting what is, or is not, an eligible country for such a domain was well outside the scope of the management of the domain name system root zone. It was therefore decided a neutral third-party system would be used.

ICANN relies solely on the ISO 3166-1 standard for determining eligible country codes. This standard is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). "KP" has long been established by ISO as North Korea's two-letter code in that standard.

The operation of a country's ccTLD is an internal matter for each country and its local Internet community. In support of this, ICANN is responsible for delegating authority for the operation of ccTLDs to a specific operator based upon requests received from the country and its local Internet community. ICANN's evaluation is focused on verifying the validity of the request, and ensuring it meets a number of technically-focused criteria. Apart from this analysis, the selection of both the operator, and the method of operation of a ccTLD is a matter for countries and local Internet communities to decide.

The ISO 3166-1 two-letter code elements are available at:

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit:

Media Contacts:

Jason Keenan
Media Adviser, ICANN (USA)
Ph: +1 310 382 4004

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."