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Who is the newsreader entrusted with announcing North Korea’s nuclear tests?

Who is the newsreader entrusted with announcing North Korea’s nuclear tests?
By Selina Sykes
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Quaking with excitement, she announced in a booming voice that North Korea had carried out the successful launch of a “super-large heavy warhead”.

The responsibility of breaking North Korea’s latest nuclear development almost inevitably fell down to Ri Chun-hee, a veteran newsreader who is a favourite of leader Kim Jong-un.

The 74-year-old entrusted with delivering nearly all of the North Korean latest major nuclear developments has quickly become known as the voice of doom in the West, with her announcements sparking panicked diplomatic talks and strong words from world leaders.

But who is the enthusiastic newsreader?

Ri was born to a poor family in Gangwon Province in central Korea during the Japanese occupation.

She studied performing arts at Pyongyang University of Theatre and Film before being selected by the Workers’ Party of Korea to be its mouthpiece.

Ri became chief news reader at Korea Central Television by 1974 just three years after joining and has survived several purges and demotions at the station.

The newscaster known for her bombastic style was a regular fixture on the evening news, following leaders on visits to steel mills, tours of cabbage fields and inspections of military bases.

She officially retired in January 2012 but has returned to North Korean television screens to announce some of the most significant developments of the Kim Jong-un regime.

Dubbed as the ‘pink lady’ due to her colourful choice of outfits, Ri struggled to contain her excitement while announcing the latest test of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile.

The newsreader also announced the success of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile in July, which the regime claimed can reach the US.

Her enthusiastic delivery is said to be one of the reasons why the news presenter won the admiration of Kim Jong-un.

State-run Chosun Monthly magazine said her voice touches viewers and that her announcements make enemies “tremble with fear”.

The newsreader was in tears when she announced the death in 1994 of North Korea’s Kim Il-sung, known as the ‘father of the nation’.

She was also seen holding back tears as she announced the death of Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il.

When not making occasional appearances on television, she spends her time training aspiring North Korean presenters.

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