Clinton Secures Pardon For U.S. Reporters in N. Korea

That’s Bill, not Hillary

(Photo: thefrisky.com)

Thank you, Mr. Clinton. (Photo: thefrisky.com)

Not that Hillary couldn’t have gotten the job done. She’s more than capable. But Bill had already established a relationship with the North Korean government; they’ve even requested to meet with him specifically a few times over the past 15 years.

What job am I talking about? After “exhaustive conversation” with Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea, Bill Clinton has managed to secure amnesty for American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee. Ling and Lee had been detained in North Korea since March. The women allegedly crossed the China-North Korea border inadvertently, but in crossing without authorization, they violated North Korean law. Their sentence was 12 years of “reform through labor.”

For amnesty, a special pardon

Heejin Koo reports for Bloomberg that not only did Mr. Clinton’s negotiations with Kim Jong Il secure the freedom of the American journalists, but it may have made headway toward deescalation of North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program. Despite the fact that negotiating terms of amnesty constitutes an acknowledgment that Ling and Lee violated North Korean law, the results will no doubt be more than satisfactory for their friends, family and anyone else concerned with freedom from oppression.

Yu Ho Yeol of Korea University in Seoul said that Bill Clinton’s successful exchange with Kim Jong Il “will certainly serve as a turning point in the U.S.-North Korean dialogue.” I’d like to suggest that they import cash advances and payday loans with no faxing, but one thing at a time. If you want them, however, apply right here:

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What made the difference?

It is true that Bill Clinton is an excellent speaker and negotiator. His previous exchanges with North Korea may have made the difference, but there is a rumor circulated by North Korean Central News Agency that Clinton had been empowered to deliver a “special message” from President Obama. However, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denied this.

This is not the first successful visit a former U.S. head of state has made to North Korea, however. In 1994, former President Jimmy Carter met with Kim Jong Il and was able to negotiate a freeze of the country’s nuclear activity at the time. This was followed up by visits from President Clinton in 2000 and then Secretary of State Madeline Albright, both of which were for the same purpose as Carter’s visit. However, it was revealed in 2002 that North Korea had resumed their nuclear program in secret, and testing commenced by 2006. The testing culminated in at least a dozen missiles being tested this year, despite international pressure against such action. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton obtained U.N. sanctions against North Korea as a result.

Calling the “New York channel”

Bill and Il (Photo: Bloomberg.com)

Bill and Il (Photo: Bloomberg.com)

Kim Jong Il and North Korea had stated openly that they would not return to the table for nuclear talks with the U.S., China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. But just last week, they expressed interest in negotiations involving Bill Clinton or “a high-ranking Obama administration official,” according to South Korea’s Yonhap News.

Apparently much like the Bat Phone, Kim Jong Il’s administration had a kind of hotline that may have been established through Bill Clinton.  They used it to contact Congressman Bill Richardson on multiple occasions. Richardson had previously been President Clinton’s contact at the United Nations, and he was able to negotiate the release of an American pilot who’d been shot down, as well as the release of a U.S. citizen who’d been accused of crossing into North Korea in 1996. Much like Laura Ling and Euna Lee, this citizen had been accused of spying.

Does Bill Clinton have the magic touch when it comes to amnesty? Depending upon who you ask, he definitely has something that’s magical…

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