AP to open bureau in North Korea


The Hermit Kingdom is no longer going to be quite so sealed off from the rest of the world. The Associated Press (AP) announced that it has reached agreements with North Korea’s state-run news agency to expand access in the reclusive country, including the opening of an AP bureau in Pyongyang.

The AP said the agreements with the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) will include deeper photo/video cooperation. Leaders of the two news organizations held discussions during a New York visit by KCNA executives and this week signed two memos of understanding and a contract.  

Under one memo of understanding work begins immediately on discussions aimed at opening an AP bureau in Pyongyang. It would be the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital. Five years ago, AP Television News, headquartered in London, became the first Western news organization to establish an office in North Korea.

The second memo of understanding outlines cooperation on journalistic and photo/video technology issues, including a joint photo exhibition by the two agencies in New York next year.

The contract signed this week designates AP as the exclusive distributor of contemporary and historic video from KCNA’s archive, providing a new source of video content from North Korea to AP’s members and customers around the world.

“This agreement between AP and KCNA is historic and significant,” said AP President and CEO Tom Curley. “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 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-U.S. relations.”

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name of the state.