AP Opens Full News Bureau in North Korea

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA: The Associated Press opened its newest bureau here Monday, becoming the first international news organization with a full-time presence to cover news from North Korea in words, pictures and video. The Associated Press Television News agency first gained entrée to North Korea in 2006, the first independent news organization allowed into the country.

AP writers and photojournalists now will also be allowed to work in North Korea on a regular basis.

For North Korea, which for decades has remained largely off-limits to international journalists, the opening marked an important gesture, particularly because North Korea and the United States have never had formal diplomatic relations. The AP, an independent 165-year-old news cooperative founded in New York and owned by its U.S. newspaper membership, has operations in more than 100 countries and employs nearly 2,500 journalists across the world in 300 locations.

The Pyongyang bureau will operate under the same standards and practices as AP bureaus worldwide. The AP bureau will be staffed by reporter Pak Won Il and photographer Kim Kwang Hyon, both natives of North Korea who have done some reporting for AP in recent weeks on Kim Jong Il’s funeral and the mass public mourning on the streets of Pyongyang.