China’s CCTV interviews Ri Chun Hui

China Central Television (CCTV) scored something of a scoop on Monday when it interviewed North Korea’s most influential news anchor woman, Ri Chun Hui, as part of its Lunar New Year programming.

The piece, which ran on the CCTV news channel, saw the station’s Pyongyang reporter go inside the Korea Central Television news studio to meet with Ri on the set of the national TV news.

Ri is one of the most recognizable faces to anyone that watches North Korean TV.

She usually appears to read to most important news items – typically those involving Kim Jong Il or Kim Jong Un – and is so closely tracked that her disappearance from the evening news late last year had tongues wagging.

Ri, as The Wall Street Journal reported, was off the air for two months before reappearing on December 19 to announce the death of Kim Jong Il. (pictured right) Ri also announced the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994 and North korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, according to North Korea Leadership Watch:

Ri Chun Hui was born in 1943.  Ri received a performing arts education.  She began her career as an actress in radio and at Korean Film Studios.  She started working at KCTV in 1971, eight years after the TV network was established.  She appeared in KCTV’s first color broadcast in 1974. – North Korea Leadership Watch.

In the CCTV interview, Ri said she believes each anchor should have their own style and announce different kinds of news in different ways.

“For example, when we read the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, we shouldn’t sound as if we were shouting but speak gently to viewers,” — Ri Chun Hui

The report provided a rare look at the inside the Korea Central Television news studio, one of the most important places in the government information and propaganda machine.

Ri sits in front of what appears to be a large painting or print of Pyongyang. To her right is a flat screen monitor and two televisions directly face her anchor’s desk.

The studio is equipped with a standard-definition Sony camera:

And the report also showed the control suite for the news:

Here’s the report. It’s notable because Ri delivers a Lunar New Year greeting to China in a mild voice — a departure from the fearless voice we’re used to on North Korean Television.

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, said the CCTV report “appears to be aimed at demonstrating to Chinese viewers continued cozy relations between China and North Korea under the new North Korean leadership.”

Here’s a gallery of screenshots from the report, including some of the front of the Korea Central Television building:

18 Comments on "China’s CCTV interviews Ri Chun Hui"

  1. It all looks pretty basic, doesn’t it? Perhaps this little set-up was cobbled together to replace a studio full of 1970s vintage gear that was on its last legs.

    • Gag,

      A lot of TV studios, even here in the west, are messy and ordinary away from the set. Having said that, you’re right, the equipment is pretty basic.

      But they rarely (if ever?) will do live broadcasts from the studio so the can probably get by with the gear they have.


    • I just don’t get it. If you can get the job done with lesser gear than someone else, it’s all well and good. Why would you need anything more than is really necessary to run a task?

  2. Thank you for posting this item. As a very frequent viewer of KCTV it’s fascinating to see behind the scenes and certainly shows Ri Chun Hui in a different light. Does anyone know in which part of Pyongyang the TV studio (also radio studios) relocated? The building shots don’t appear to indicate it is in the Pyongyang TV Tower area.

    • Hi Mark,

      Curtis’ map has the radio broadcast center as the middle building here:,125.75825&hl=en&ll=39.034461,125.790788&spn=0.002779,0.005681&sll=35.651936,139.751153&sspn=0.010235,0.022724&t=w&z=18&vpsrc=6

      I’m not sure if that’s the same building. The size looks about right (assuming the front is on the upwards-facing side of the building) and the buildings to the side seem to match. Going back through old images in Google Earth show something on that top face of the building. It could be the writing shown in the images.

      However if it is the same building, the back side obviously looks different from the front. It could very well be somewhere else.


      • Thanks Martyn,

        Yes it certainly looks like this is most likely the building. Counting the trees, monument location and looking closely at the building shape and heights everything lines up. So, the best guess at the moment is that the radio and television services come out of the same facility. Thanks for the info!


        • Its funny how something can be right under your noise and you never see it, isn’t it!..

          So tonight I picked up out of the bookshelf the copy of “Korea’s Tourist Map” (official DPRK publication 504178) that I purchased in the bookshop at the Yanggakdo Hotel (Pyongyang) in August. My thinking was I would lookup the name of the district of Pyongyang where we suspected the TV Studio was. What the heck, right there on the map complete with a diagram of the buildings, the map is marked “TV Broadcasting Hall”! So without doubt the building Curtis has listed as the Radio Hall is the location of the KCTV TV studio. Assuming Curtis is right about it also being the radio hall it would seem that both radio and TV studios are in the same complex.

    • Question — how does one view KCTV? All I’ve been able to find are a few YouTube channels that upload clips occasionally…

      Thanks ^_^*

  3. It’s weird hearing Ri Chun Hui talking normally. Thanks for the post.

  4. Here is the CCTV-13 news story as reworked and presented in English by the CCTV-News channel. This clip also has the few extra seconds of video footage that shows the external shots of the KCTV studio building.

  5. Ri Chun Hui smiles and so on. NK shows a nice face through this clip.

  6. Les fumiers. J’ignore qui possède les droits d’administration du compte qui a posté la vidéo, mais ceux-çi ont été “gentillement bannis” de YouTube. La vidéo en question n’est plus accessible pour quiconque.

  7. Like i said, you can delete your post. There is no more video to see, the video has been banished from youtube. By who ? That is the question.

  8. It’s still there, posted by someone else:

  9. I didnt realise I could learn the world famous Ri Chun Hui background story. Great to See her relaxed in the interview! She will be missed when she retires.

  10. all human have the same heritage,all of we are brothers,we don’t can be confrontation of brothers hood family,have a diplomatic solutions,north korea and south korea have the same families,we cannot disagree in political agenda,why we let the north korea and south korea be friends and a solutions to be unique country,brothers and sister,father and mother,grand father and grand mother,the same children koreas hood,all both koreas family.

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