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AFP to open Pyongyang bureau in months: AFP chairman

All Headlines 17:14 November 04, 2015

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- The France-based news agency AFP plans to set up a branch office in the North Korean capital in a few months, the agency's chairman said Wednesday.

"We're working on the opening of the bureau in Pyongyang... We expect to be able to do so in the next few months. It's something that is on the good tracks," AFP Chairman Emmanuel Hoog said during a meeting with Park No-hwang, president and chief executive officer of Yonhap News Agency.

The meeting took place for about an hour at Yonhap's headquarters in Seoul when Hoog visited the company.

Asked about the exact timing of opening, he said he doesn't know that but it won't take "too long."

U.S.-based news wire service Associated Press became the first Western media outlet to open a news bureau in Pyongyang in January 2012. Japan's Kyodo News opened a news branch in September 2006.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency and Russia's Itar-Tass news agency are also operating branches in North Korea as well.

Hoog said the Pyongyang bureau opening, if realized, could be good news for his company, Yonhap and the rest of the world because it enables the AFP to provide fresh information from within the isolated country.

During the talks, Park and Hoog also exchanged information and views on government support of the news agencies, Yonhap's shift of focus of its news service from media clients to individual news consumers, and relationship with influential newspapers.

This marked Hoog's second visit to the company as AFP chairman after one in 2013.


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