Freed US Journalists Return From North Korea

Beijing, China | Burbank, California

North Korea on Wednesday released the two American reporters who had been imprisoned in the country since March, issuing a “special pardon” following the surprise visit of the former U.S. President, Bill Clinton.

On Tuesday, Mr. Clinton met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, the first high-level visit from the U.S. to Pyongyang in almost a decade, and made the case for the release of the journalists. In March, Laura Ling (32) and Euna Lee (36), reporters with American television channel Current TV, were detained by authorities when they were filming a report along the country’s border on the influx of North Korean refugees into China. They were accused of illegally crossing the border and had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labour for “hostile acts” against the country. State media in North Korea reported that following meetings with Mr. Clinton, Mr. Kim issued a “special pardon” in keeping with the country’s “humanitarian and peace-loving policy.” But analysts have suggested the release had more to do with some sort of “package deal” North Korea struck with the U.S. to end its political and economic isolation — a suggestion Washington has strongly denied.

North Korea currently faces a range of sanctions, which were recently expanded by the United Nations after the country conducted a nuclear test and a series of missile tests in May. In April, North Korea quit the Six-Party Talks initiative set up by the U.S. along with China, Russia, Japan and South Korea to bring about de-nuclearisation and stability in the region.

On Wednesday, U.S. officials in Washington denied that any sort of political deal had been struck during Mr. Clinton’s visit. Officials said they had no role in planning the visit and described it as a “private mission”. They also rejected reports made by North Korean media on Tuesday that Mr. Clinton had carried a message for Mr. Kim from President Barack Obama. U.S. officials revealed how Mr. Clinton’s surprise visit — the first high-level visit from Washington since Mr. Clinton’s own Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang in 2000 — came about.

Officials said Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee had informed their parents in a telephone call that Pyongyang had specifically said it would consider their release only if Mr. Clinton made a trip as a peace envoy. On this occasion, Pyongyang kept up its end of the bargain. Less than 24 hours after he touched down in North Korea, Mr. Clinton left in his private jet in the early hours of Wednesday with the two reporters.

theFundooGeek recommended reading :

Comments :

0 comments to “Freed US Journalists Return From North Korea”

Post a Comment

What are other's reading?