Ri Chun-hee

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Ri.
Ri Chun-hee
Born (1943-07-08) 8 July 1943 (age 72)
Tongchon, Gangwon, Japanese Korea
Nationality North Korean
Occupation News anchor at Korean Central Television
Known for Announcing the death of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 리춘히
Revised Romanization I Chunhi
McCune–Reischauer Ri Ch'unhi

Ri Chun-hee (born 8 July 1943) is a retired female news anchor for North Korean broadcaster Korean Central Television. She is most notable for her characteristic emotional and sometimes vitriolic tone. Ri made the official announcements of the deaths of Kim Il-sung in 1994 and Kim Jong-il in 2011.[1] In a news report by CCTV News on 24 January 2012, Ri announced her retirement as chief newsreader at KCTV.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Ri was born in 1943 to a poor family in Tongchon, Gangwon, Korea. She was cultivated by the North Korean government because of her background of abject poverty, which is considered a sign of political trustworthiness in the country. Ri did not major in journalism but in performance art at Pyongyang University of Theatre and Film and was recruited by KCTV.[3][4]


Ri has been the chief news presenter of KCTV since 1974 and was on air for every public appearance of late Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il.[5][6][7][8][9][10] She has also been on air for other important stories such as North Korea's successful nuclear test.[11]


Ri has received high acclaim from the North Korean authorities for her resonant voice, impressive mood and outstanding eloquence, with a power fit to "shake all the enemies". She is known for her melodramatic announcing style. She often speaks in a wavering and exuberant tone when praising the nation's leaders, and conversely with visible anger when denouncing the West. According to Brian Reynolds Myers, a professor at Dongseo University and an expert in North Korean propaganda, her training in drama serves her well, given the large amount of showmanship that is typical of North Korean broadcasting.[3]

When she made the official announcement of Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, Ri was visibly crying during the broadcast. Likewise, when she announced Kim Jong-il's death in 2011, she was seen holding back tears.[1] Her melodramatic style has been parodied in the character of Kim Bong Cha, a North Korean correspondent on The Noose.

Ri usually appears wearing a either a pink, Western-style suit or in a traditional Korean chima jeogori.

Honours and privileges[edit]

Ri has been awarded the titles "People's Broadcaster" and "Heroine of Labour". These honours have given her numerous material advantages, such as a modern house, a deluxe car, and access to entertainment, fashion, and clothing otherwise inaccessible to the average North Korean.[4]