Kim Jong Il

When this broadcaster makes a rare appearance, North Koreans know it's serious

When this broadcaster makes a rare appearance, North Koreans know it's serious

Her television voice bellows and booms from deep inside, like a trained diva, with a delivery that commands attention.

And on the rare occasions these days when Ri Chun Hee appears on North Korea’s state-run news network, the audience knows the looming declaration is serious.

The latest broadcast came when Ri — in her raspy, guttural cadence — told the world Tuesday about North Korea’s successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon that one day might threaten the U.S. mainland.

The launch, she breathlessly announced, demonstrated the "unwithering power of our state."

Ri’s three-minute monologue, which helped prompt a flurry of...

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