Associated Press set to open office in Pyongyang

North Korea flag
New York, Jun 30: The Associated Press announced it plans to open a bureau in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, following a March trip to the country by the head of the US news agency.

The AP said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North's state-run wire service, on Tuesday to expand its on-site coverage in the reclusive communist nation.

Under the deal, the AP's text and photo journalists will work in the North Korean capital along with its video news crew at the APTN, which began operations there in 2006.

The AP gave no detailed schedule for the launch of the new bureau, only saying it will be in operation as soon as possible.

"This agreement between the AP and KCNA is historic and significant," AP President and CEO Tom Curley was quoted as saying.

"The AP is once again being trusted to open a door to better understanding between a nation and the world. We are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to providing coverage for the AP's global audience in our usually reliable and insightful way."

" Kim Pyong-ho, president of KCNA, said, "I hope this agreement contributes not only to the strengthening of relations between our two news agencies but also to the better understanding between the peoples of our two countries and the improvement of the DPRK (North Korea) US relations," according to the AP.

A five-member KCNA delegation, led by Kim, arrived in New York on Saturday to seal the agreement, it added.

It remains uncertain how freely AP reporters will make reporting trips even if the Pyongyang bureau opens.

Japan's Kyodo News Service has a correspondent in Pyongyang, but he mostly stays in Beijing. He travels to the North only when necessary and is granted limited access.

PTI (Yonhap)

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