NORTH KOREA: Ex-President Clinton to visit N. Korea today for detained journalists
Two American journalists were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry and "hostile acts" in June 2009
The Korea Herald
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is set to arrive in North Korea later Tuesday for talks with North Korean officials to win the release of two detained American journalists, a South Korean daily reported.
The Chosun Ilbo, citing an unidentified diplomatic source, reported that Clinton, husband of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was on his way to Pyongyang on a chartered plane, according to Yonhap News.
The newspaper, however, did not give other details including the exact time of his arrival, only saying the U.S. government will soon make an announcement.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee of the San Francisco-based media group Current TV, co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, were arrested in mid-March near the China-North Korea border while reporting on refugees fleeing the impoverished North.
They were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor by the North on charges of illegal entry and "hostile acts."
The United States and North Korea will officially announce Clinton’s visit to the North upon his arrival at a Pyongyang airport, according to the report.
Clinton would be the second former U.S. president to visit the communist North. Former President Jimmy Carter visited the North in 1994 for talks with then North Korean paramount leader Kim Il-sung to settle the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Relations between the United States and North Korea improved during the Clinton's eight-year tenure, which ended in 2001. North Korea's top military commander Jo Myong-rok made a historic visit to Washington in 2000 to meet then President Clinton to discuss normalization of relations between the two countries. But the move was thwarted after Republican candidate George W. Bush won the presidential election that year.
Date Posted: 8/4/2009