North Korea puts the welcome mat out for AP bureau


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The Independent Online

The Associated Press opened its newest bureau in Pyongyang yesterday, becoming the first international news organisation with a full-time presence in North Korea.

In a ceremony that came less than a month after the death of long-time ruler Kim Jong-il, the AP President, Tom Curley, and a delegation of top AP editors inaugurated the office, situated inside the offices of the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

In 2006, AP opened a video bureau in Pyongyang. Now, its writers and photojournalists will 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 as Pyongyang and the US have never had formal diplomatic relations. The bureau puts AP in a position to document the country across all media platforms at a critical moment in its history, said Mr Curley.