American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have landed in California after former president Bill Clinton’s meeting in North Korea with Kim Jong Il.
I’m glad they are home. I’ll leave you with this passage from the wire report preceding their arrival:
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Their expected arrival was a jubilant conclusion to a more than four-month ordeal for the women, who were arrested near the North Korean-Chinese border in March while on a reporting trip for Current TV, the media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
Gore was expected to be at the Burbank airport to greet the women, who were sentenced in June for illegal entry and engaging in “hostile acts.”
Hillary Clinton had urged North Korea last month to grant them amnesty, saying they were remorseful and their families anguished.
The release also amounted to a successful diplomatic foray for the former president, who traveled as an unofficial envoy, with approval and coordination from the administration. He was uniquely positioned for it as the only recent president who had considered visiting North Korea while in office, and one who had sent his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright.
But the backchannel genesis of the mission was not immediately clear, whether Obama called on him, North Korea asked for him or his wife suggested him.
His landmark visit to Pyongyang to free the Americans was a coup that came at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.
Hillary Clinton also rejected an official report by the North Korean news agency that said Bill Clinton had delivered an apology about the incident to the country’s ailing leader.
“That is not true,” she said. “That did not occur.”
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