August 5, 2009

Clinton Secures Release of Two US Reporters





Former US President Bill Clinton's "private mission" to Pyongyang has ended on a happy note with the release of two American reporters - Laura Ling and Euna Lee - who had been found guilty of entering North Korea illegally in March.

According to the BBC, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il agreed to the release with a special pardon to the journalists after his meeting with Clinton.

Clinton's visit was the highest-profile visit by an American to the reclusive Communist state since ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000.

In a statement posted on a website, the two journalists thanked Mr Clinton and also former Vice-President Al Gore for their efforts to secure their release. The families of the journalists said they were "overjoyed" by the news.

Chronology:

March 17: Euna Lee and Laura Ling seized by North Korean border guards while reporting for California-based Current TV

June 8: Both sentenced to 12 years in jail for "hostile acts" and illegal entry into North Korea

June 16: Pyongyang says journalists have "admitted and accepted" their guilt

July 10: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeals for an amnesty for the two

August 4: Former US President Bill Clinton arrives in Pyongyang and North Korea later announces the journalists will be pardoned

Clinton visits but will Pyongyang change?

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