Lifestyle & Belief

AP to set up shop in North Korea (UPDATE)



A man reads a newspaper report about a North Korea missile test and the training of South Korean troops in Seoul on May 29, 2009.


Philippe Lopez

AP announced today that it will be opening a bureau in Pyongang.

It will partner with the Korea Central News Agency to become "the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital," according to the language of the press release.

Another somewhat bizarre passage of the press release mentions that AP will be "the exclusive distributor of contemporary and historic video from KCNA’s archive," meaning, I suppose, that AP will have that unsettling market cornered.

The big question here is will this be a genuine move toward opening up North Korea?

North Korea expert and author of “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty,” Bradley Martin, said he doesn't see the AP bureau making waves on a day-to-day basis. 

"The big advantage of being there won't be seen until things fall apart and there's no one else to swing into action and report to the outside world," he wrote by email.