US journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have just been pardoned by North Korea after a visit from Bill Clinton! According to ABC News, the former president took a surprise trip to the country to negotiate the release of the two women. And whatever he said worked, because Ling and Lee may be leaving as early as tonight on the same plane as Clinton.
The White House has made no comment about Clinton’s trip, except for the following statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: "While this solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans is on the ground, we will have no comment. We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton's mission.”
"It's a little sensitive. We will have more to say on this hopefully later on."
Clinton arrived in Pyongyang early Tuesday and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to talk about the two journalists, who were arrested after straying into the country while they were reporting on the Chinese-North Korean border. Ling and Lee were later convicted and sentenced to 12 years hard labor.
The pardons were announced by North Korea's state-run news agency, who called it a sign of North Korea's "humanitarian and peace loving policy.”
What an unbelievable mission! We can’t imagine how Laura Ling and Euna Lee are feeling right now. More details to come!
Former President Clinton is already on a plane back to the U.S. "They were seen off at the airport by Yang Hyong Sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Kim Kye Gwan, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs," reports KCNA news agency. The agency despatch did not mention the two journalists.