Yonhap has 550 journalists and photographers posted at the Seoul head office, regional offices and overseas bureaus, comprising the largest news-gathering network in Korea. Under a 2009 law passed by the South Korean parliament, Yonhap has been charged with promoting the country's image and distributing information -- a task deemed critical to addressing the domination of information by major Western news media. Yonhap dispatches news and information to international media organizations in foreign languages to help the international community access clear and accurate information on the Korean Peninsula. Yonhap's foreign-language news service is distributed in English, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish. Launched in 1981 with the merger of several commercial news agencies, Yonhap keeps its customers abreast of the latest news and information by sending out fast, reliable reports. In 1988, Yonhap became the first of the Korean press to establish an electronic system for writing and releasing news articles to its clients. With state-of-the-art equipment and a superior workforce, Yonhap successfully undertook its role as the key news agency for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the 2000 Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Seoul, the 2002 Korea-Japan FIFA World Cup and the 2005 summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Yonhap currently has 43 correspondents in Washington, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing and 27 other major cities around the world, and employs 15 local correspondents in 15 other cities to cover stories not only on Korean affairs, but also other international issues from the Korean perspective. Other cities currently covered by Yonhap correspondents include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Osaka, Shanghai, Shenyang, Vladivostok, London, Berlin, Geneva, Brussels, Mexico City, Cairo, Johannesburg, New Delhi, Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, San Paolo, Budapest, Dubai, Almaty, Santiago, Sydney, Amman and Dakar. The 15 cities where local stringers report for Yonhap are Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Osaka, London, The Hague, Jakarta, Taipei, Oakland, Toronto, Vancouver, Jerusalem, Roma, Teheran, Istanbul, Nairobi and Helsinki. Yonhap maintains contracts for the exchange of news services with some 66 global news agencies, including such major news companies as the Associated Press, Reuters, United Press International, Agence France-Presse, China's Xinhua News Agency, Japan's Kyodo News Agency, Deutsche Presse Agentur of Germany and Itar-Tass of Russia. Yonhap also provides North Korean news under a contract to exchange news services with the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of North Korea, signed in December 2002.
Yonhap is a channel for foreign readers to get real-time information and news on Korea in English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic. The multi-language news service is very meaningful as the country is on the verge of becoming an advanced nation. Yonhap's English-language news service reaches over 66 news agencies worldwide. In addition, international organizations, 160 government overseas missions and Internet users access the service via Yonhap's Web site.
Of all the local dailies and broadcasters based in Seoul, Yonhap boasts the largest number of reporters covering provinces. Over 120 reporters posted in 13 major provincial cities write articles that help narrow the information divide between Seoul and provincial cities, balancing regional development and promoting unity.
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