Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a surprise visit to North Korea to try to convince the government to liberate two imprisoned U.S. journalists.
The journalists – Euna Lee and Laura Ling, of U.S. media outlet Current TV – were arrested on the North Korea-China border in March. The women were sentenced to twelve years of hard labour for entering the country illegally and for “hostile acts.”
Bill Clinton is well respected in North Korea, as he almost visited Pyongyang toward the end of his presidency, and because he met with North Korea’s top military commander, Jo Myong-rok, in Washington in 2000. North Korea and the United States also made a deal to freeze plutonium-based nuclear reactor at Yongbyon under the Clinton administration.
Former South Korean government official Park Chan-bong tells the Wall Street Journal the talks will probably serve as a launching point for bilateral discussions between the two countries.