(Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee)
(Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Il was looking healthy compared to just a few months ago even though rumors of a serious illness.)
One day after former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in Pyongyang to negotiate the release of the 2 Asian American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il issued a "special pardon" to the two women.
Ling and Lee were detained by North Korean soldiers in March 2009 near the China-North Korea border while working on a story about North Korean refugees for Current TV, a cable and online news network co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. They were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in June for illegal entry and "hostile acts."
Clinton met with Kim a few hours after he landed in Pyongyang on Tuesday on a visit that White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs called "solely a private mission." The former president, members of his party and the two journalists left Pyongyang for Los Angeles, CA early Wednesday morning.
20 hours to resolve a serious crisis, a serious blow to Japan who proved unsuccessful in trying to obtain satisfaction for decades on the endeavor of the Japanese citizens victims of alleged kidnapping by North Korea.
Japanese press comments:
Nihon Keizai Shimbun
"The Japanese government is highly alarmed at North
Korea's intent. Although Japan does not oppose a
U.S.-DPRK dialogue, if talks proceed behind the backs
of Japan and other countries concerned, Japan fears
this might have an adverse effect on the progress of
the Six-Party Talks to discuss the North Korean
"The Japanese government is under a direct threat from
North Korea regarding the nuclear and missile issues.
It is also strapped with the abduction issue. As
such, it is concerned about the DPRK tying the release
talks to the nuclear development issue, as a senior
Foreign Ministry official said."
"For the United States, Clinton's visit to North Korea
may be a visit for "humanitarian purposes." Even so, a
senior Foreign Ministry official said North Korea
undoubtedly has something in mind. "The lineup of
North Koreans who greeted Clinton shows that they were
attaching a great deal of importance to his visit,"
the official said. With the Clinton visit as an
opportunity, North Korea may also attempt to hold
direct negotiations with the United States. "It's not
an occasion for negotiations, so former President
Clinton will probably bring North Korea's message back
home," the official said, adding, "I don't know how it
will turn out."
A page of the East West relations was turned today.