South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong Il issued a "special pardon" freeing two jailed American journalists after talks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, North Korea's official news agency announced Wednesday.
Clinton, who arrived in North Korea Tuesday on an unannounced visit, met with the reclusive and ailing Kim for talks described by Pyongyang as "exhaustive." It was Kim's first meeting with a prominent Western figure since his reported stroke nearly a year ago.
The release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested March 17 near the China-North Korea border, was a sign of North Korea's "humanitarian and peace-loving policy," the Korean Central News Agency reported.
State media said Clinton apologized on behalf of the women and relayed President Barack Obama's gratitude. The report said the visit would "contribute to deepening the understanding" between North Korea and the U.S.
I was listening to the Villagers today on TV talk like Clinton had an agenda opposite President Obama. This was incredibly swift. Good for him. I guess speaking with people that don't like us isn't a bad strategy after all, Mr. Kristol. I'm sure Laura Ling and Euna Lee would agree.
The point to be made on the Clinton visit is that the knee-jerk impulse for negotiations above all inevitably brings more costs than its advocates foresee. Negotiating from a position of strength, where the benefits to American interests will exceed the costs, is one thing. Negotiating merely for the sake of it, in the face of palpable recent failures, is something else indeed.
BOLTON: But I worry that the outcome is a lot better for North Korea than for the United States. I mean this is a classic case of rewarding bad behavior, the seizure of these two basically innocent Americans. Obviously all of us want to get them out but we want it done in a way that doesn’t increase the risks in the future for other Americans seized by North Korea, seized by Iran, seized by other despotic regimes and then turned into pawns to get senior officials like former presidents to come and legitimize the regime in order to get them out.
Despite their insistence that they really don't want the United States to go to war with North Korea, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani did their best to push the notion that we should do just that. Read more...