North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KCNA Chief Traveling to US

Kim Pyong-ho (R), general director of North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), departs from Pyongyang for New York on June 23. The Associated Press invited Kim and his delegation to visit after its President and CEO Tom Curley visited the North Korean capital three months earlier. (KCNA-Yonhap)

A delegation of the Korean Central News Agency [KCNA], led by its president Kim P’yo’ng-ho [Kim Pyong Ho] is traveling to the United States, to meet with officials of the Associated Press [AP].  Yonhap reports:

The unprecedented trip came three months after Tom Curley, president and CEO of the AP, visited Pyongyang and met with top officials in what could be a trip designed to lay the groundwork for the opening of an AP bureau in the North’s capital.

The rare exchange visits have fueled speculation that the U.S. newswire could open a bureau in the isolated country.

The move comes as North Korea has been struggling to restrict its people’s access to outside news and information out of fear that they would undermine leader Kim Jong-il’s control of the country’s 24 million people.

Associated Press Television News, the international television division of AP, opened a full-time office in Pyongyang in 2006, making it the first Western news organization to establish a permanent presence in North Korea. The Pyongyang office provides both video and still photographs.

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June 2011