AFP opens North Korea bureau

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Chief Executive and Chairman of Agence France-Presse Emmanuel Hoog hangs a company sign on the door of the news agency's bureau in Pyongyang, North Korea on September 6, 2016

Global news agency AFP has opened a bureau in North Korea, becoming one of only a handful of foreign media organisations to have a permanent presence in the one of the world’s most isolated states.

The Agence France-Presse office in Pyongyang, which was inaugurated late Tuesday, will primarily file videos and photos to thousands of clients around the world.

"The opening of this bureau fills a gap in the AFP network of some 200 bureaus in 150 countries," said Emmanuel Hoog, Chief Executive and Chairman of AFP, who was in the North Korean capital for the official opening.

“AFP is committed to freedom of information and freedom of expression, which form part of its founding values,” Hoog said during a meeting with Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) president Kim Chang-Gwang.

The new bureau is the product of an agreement signed earlier this year between AFP and KCNA, North Korea's official news agency, that will also allow AFP to regularly send teams of foreign text, video and photo journalists into North Korea.

As part of the agreement, a North Korean photographer and a videographer, trained by AFP and working under the supervision of its Asia regional management, will produce visual content that will be edited by AFP.

AFP becomes only the second international news agency, after the Associated Press (AP), to establish a full-time presence in North Korea.