Is Kim Jong-un About To Give His First Public Interview With Western Media?

Kim Jong Un

A number of media organisations in North Korea to cover the anniversary of the Korean War armistice may get a chance to interview Kim Jong-un tomorrow, NK News reports.

However, NK News reports that the interview will come at a cost — the Korean-American fixer who is organising the media trip has reportedly asked for $15,000 per person for the press trip.

Any interview with Kim Jong-un would be a big deal. The last time a North Korean leader was publicly interviewed by a Western media outlet was in 1994, when CNN met with Kim Il Sung, the younger Kim’s grandfather.

If the interview goes ahead (there’s no official indication it will), it is due to take place on July 25th according to NK News.  The North Korea-watching website reports that the AP and CNN are amongst the news organisations are covering the trip.

The 17 day press trip — organised to cover the search for Jesse Brown, a U.S. Navy pilot who died in the war — is being run by Dr. Chayon ‘Susan’ Kim, the same fixer who helped organised Vice’s journey to North Korea with Dennis Rodman.  Vice’s Shane Smith has publicly said that the media organisation interviewed Kim during that trip, but the interview has yet to materialise.

It’s unclear exactly to whom the $15,000 would go. According to NK News, the invite for the press trip reads:

“Payment will be transferred to [a] Purchasing [c]ompany in Korea and China(bank account info will be further notice[sic]).”

It is unclear also if the fixer actually has the ability to organise such an interview. We’ve reached out to CNN and the Associated Press for comment.

There were reports in the South Korean press last month that Kim had demanded $1 million from Western media organisations for an interview on the 60th anniversary of the Korean Wars armistice, which takes place on July 27th. According ot the Chosun Ilbo, the offer was made to outlets including the AP, the BBC and Kyodo News.

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