North Korea to Pardon Reporters After Clinton Apology

World

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea will pardon two jailed US journalists after visiting former president Bill Clinton apologized to leader Kim Jong-Il for their behavior, state media reported Wednesday.


"The measure taken to release the American journalists is a manifestation of the DPRK's (North Korea's) humanitarian and peace-loving policy," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Clinton on Tuesday had met Kim for talks during his surprise mission to Pyongyang to win the release of the two female reporters.

His was the highest-profile visit by an American to Pyongyang for nearly a decade.

TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested in March while on assignment near the North Korean border with China.

Click to enlarge

South Koreans watch news about US reporters currently jailed in North Korea

© AFP Kim Jae-Hwan

They were reporting on the plight of refugees fleeing the impoverished North into China. A court in June sentenced them to 12 years of hard labour for illegal entry and other offences.

The harsh sentences soured relations with the United States already strained by the North's atomic test in May, its multiple missile tests and its decision to quit six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.

"Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong-Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it," KCNA reported.

"Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong-Il an earnest request of the US government to leniently pardon them and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view," it said.

Click to enlarge

Bill Clinton arrives in Pyongyang

© AFP/KCNA/KNS

After Kim issued a special order pardoning the pair, Clinton "courteously conveyed a verbal message of US President Barack Obama expressing profound thanks for this and reflecting views on ways of improving the relations between the two countries".

KCNA said Clinton's meetings with leader Kim and with his official number two Kim Yong-Nam featured "candid and in-depth discussions on the pending issues between the DPRK and the US in a sincere atmosphere and reached a consensus of views on seeking a negotiated settlement of them".

It said the former president's visit "will contribute to deepening the understanding between the DPRK and the US and building the bilateral confidence".

The agency did not indicate when the women would be freed but said Clinton's visit would end Wednesday.

The White House said Clinton's visit was purely private and declined to comment on it.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}