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.
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?