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AP to Open North Korean Bureau

The Associated Press has inked two memos of understanding and a contract with the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) that will expand AP's access in North Korea and lead to the opening of an AP news bureau in the country's capital Pyongyang.

"This agreement between AP and KCNA is historic and significant," said AP president and CEO Tom Curley in a statement. "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."

Leaders of the two news organizations held discussions during a New York visit by KCNA executives and earlier week signed two memos of understanding and a contract. 

Kim Pyong Ho, president of KCNA, noted in a statement that "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 [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]-U.S. relations."

Under one memo of understanding, AP and KCNA are currently discussing the process for opening an AP bureau in Pyongyang, which 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 as well as photo and video technology issues. This cooperation will include a joint photo exhibition by the two agencies in New York next year.

The contract 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.