Former President Bill Clinton met with N. Korean leader Kim Jong II in North Korea Tuesday to negotiate the release of U.S. journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling. Both journalists were arrested on the border of N. Korea and China and were tried in a secret kangaroo court styled trial and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean labor camp.
After the sentencing of Ling and Lee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Obama administration at the time was “engaged in all possible ways through every possible channel to secure their release. We urge North Korea to grant their immediate release on humanitarian grounds.” However, recently the tone has changed and the Obama administration has asked that the two journalists be released on amnesty instead of humanitarian grounds.
Analysts say that former President Bill Clinton would not have embarked on this trip to North Korea to negotiate a release for Ling and Lee if a release was not plausible.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb stated late Monday that “while this solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans is on the ground, we have no comment. We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton’s mission.”