Talking head

Iconic North Korean TV anchor comes out of retirement again to deliver nuke news

Residents look up at a big screen TV in front of Pyongyang railway station showing television presenter Ri Chun-Hee officially announcing that the country successfully tested a nuclear warhead earlier in the day on September 9, 2016. (KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea made huge news overnight with its fifth — and largest yet — nuclear bomb test. The detonation caused a minor earthquake, and drew sharp condemnations from world leaders in the region and around the globe. And when North Korea has news of this magnitude, there’s apparently only one person fit to deliver it to the people of the Hermit Kingdom: Ri Chun-hee. “The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will … a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power,” she reportedly told viewers during the afternoon broadcast.

Ri is believed to be about 72 years old and retired now, but she comes out of retirement for news that’s going to have a global impact — a testament to the legend that surrounds her in the notoriously reclusive nation. She’s essentially the Barbara Walters of North Korea. Over her decades-long career for the state-run TV network, she endeared herself to North Korean viewers with her signature halting and bombastic delivery. Back in January, WITW did a profile of Ri after she emerged to deliver similar news of a successful nuclear weapons test. At one point, there was mystery about whether she was even still alive. She re-emerged, on television of course, but the mystery of her monthslong absence was never solved. Her appearances on television are now such an occasion that her image can be seen in news photos on giant public television screens being watched by the masses.

Read more about the revered Ri Chun-hee here.

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