Thanks be to God. No one knows yet what Clinton had to give up, thank God they are being released.
Hope the story of how, and why they were there in the first place will now come out. Supposedly, they were in China on the border of N. Korea. One is the mother of a child under four. What was she thinking? I understand the photographer was not grabbed. They work for Al Gore.
IMO stay away from areas where one’s actions jeopardizes the lives of others and the nation’s security.
I guess Clinton will now fly to Iran to seek the release of those three happy wanderers.
That’s GREAT news!
According to AP:
Former US President Bill Clinton met Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the first day of a surprise visit to Pyongyang, holding ‘exhaustive’ talks that covered a wide range of topics, state-run media said.
So apparently they were released in order to get him to stop talking…
Praise God that they are coming home alive.
This is what I don’t understand though, why is HE doing the talking. Isn’t his wife Secretary of State and isn’t her job supposed to be dealing with other countries? Why did she not go?
Wow. Praise God!
Clinton is very good at negotiating, though. I think it makes more sense for someone besides the usual players (President Obama, SS Clinton) to try to negotiate. It doesn’t make it seem as if the big ole USA is peering down at North Korea, saying “Give us back our reporters!”
It was a “private” visit for a reason.
I work as a professional historian, and know a little something about North Korea (although Latin America is actually my specialty). North Korea is actually the most predictable “unpredictable” country in the world. They do bad things, like test a nuclear bomb, in order to get a reaction from the world and make them feel powerful (but without actually threatening anyone), and then they decide to talk and get concessions, usually involving food aid (since everyone is starving except the military). Kim Jong Il is also facing another problem right now, which is that he’s in poor health. He’s trying to secure the power base for his son Kim Jong-Un to succeed. However, Kim Jong-Un is young… in his 20s, and Koreans respect age. So, Kim Jong Il has stepped up the posturing so that he can help his son earn some “achievements” in the eyes of his people.
When the reporters were captured, it was a foregone conclusion that they would never serve the twelve year sentence, or even set foot anywhere NEAR a labor camp. As reporters, they would have been able to give first hand accounts of the atrocities going on there. They were bargaining chips from the start, and meant to force a concession from the US. Instead, since they knew that they would be released, they kept them in nice “guest houses”, even permitting them occasional phone calls back to their families.
So, what was the concession? Former President Bill Clinton himself. North Korea has desperately wanted direct talks with the US, instead of the “six-party” system it currently has, which doesn’t allow meetings without South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia involved. Secretary of State Clinton isn’t a good enough catch for the North Koreans. North Korean leaders ONLY directly meet with actual leaders, since they deem themselves unworthy of meeting anyone lesser. As a former president, North Korea can claim to have wooed an important US figure to North Korea and save face. For the US, since Bill Clinton serves in an unofficial capacity, we have very little to lose. It is actually, tactically, a very clever move for the US. It may strengthen Kim Jong Il and his son, but it doesn’t really give up anything of substance. In fact, it may finally get our two countries talking again, since relations are at a real low right now. (That said, I should cynically point out that North Korea is in the midst of another horrific famine right now, and desperately needs food aid again, so actually, there’s no surprise on the timing…)
Thanks for explaining this. One question would Hilary Clinton being a woman also have anything to do with her not going? It would seem that a country with leadership like that would respect men over woman.
It shouldn’t. Perhaps you may remember that Kim Jong Il met with former Sec. of State Albright and even clinked glasses of wine in a toast. I think Rolltide is correct in pointing out that one major reason for Sec. of State Clinton not to go, besides the fact that she was recently called a school girl by the Korean media and is not held in such high esteem by the leadership, is that the U.S. is able to deny that official representatives of the nation were involved in this meeting. The end result is that if everything goes well, the Obama Administration receives the kudos, but if something goes wrong, it is able to deny they were involved.
I’m so happy that Clinton was able to do this. What a great story to wake up to this morning!
Thanks for the explanation Rolltide!
So, Bill Clinton was able to gain the release of two American journalists who had been arrested some four months ago by the North Korean government for illegally entering that country. These journalists were tried, convicted, and sentenced to twelve years in prison, all within this four month period. Throughout, American politicians and the media portrayed the North Korean regime as oppressive – which it clearly is – even though it surrendered its victims in far shorter time than has the American government regarding the prisoners it holds at Guantanamo. The American regime has held a greater number of people without any charges being filed or trials being held, and for many years – not just months.
Perhaps with a Democratic president in Washington, and a Secretary of State with whom, presumably, he is still on speaking terms, Bill and his faithful erstwhile VP sidekick, Skippy, could take their prisoner rescue act to Cuba and endeavor to free those who are held without cause.
i will be really upset if these two journalists get a book deal out of this. i hope they learned their lesson.
The leader of North Korea ,I think, is a mentally disturbed person…He’ll arrest anyone b/c he doesn’t want anyone to know the horrors of his country…
thanks for your post. the two women definitely looked like they were in pretty good shape.
i figured they were kept for good bargaining chips and i wonder what we had to offer in exchange for the two women.
in the state i live in we have a stupid motorist law which states that if you knowingly drive your motor vehicle into a flooded roadway and are washed away and need to be rescued, you will be billed for your rescue. i think they should have a stupid journalists law that if you knowingly meander across the border into the country which is not friendly toward america, you should be responsible for paying the costs of your rescue.
now we still have the 3 people in iran, one who is a journalist, who need to be rescued.
Well… the plot thickens… and this is no surprise.
It seems that the two journalists may NOT have been in North Korea at all. They went to the border region of North Korea and China to file a report, but were supposedly only going to take shots of North Korea from the Chinese side of the border. Some reports say that the North Koreans entered Chinese territory and kidnapped the journalists to obtain them as bargaining chips. If true (and I do NOT know if it is or not yet), then the journalists were in no way responsible for their situation. It should be known that the North has done this SEVERAL times in the past, especially in South Korean border towns. It’ll be interesting to see what the Chinese escorts that the two journalists had have to say…
Hear,hear!! I’m waiting for that story to come out. How does one wander around China? I was under the impression there were areas one doesn’t go. What were they doing that close to N. Korea’s border? Yes, they could have been set up by their Chinese guide if they had one. I believe the third person, a photographer, managed to avoid being grabbed.
Maybe the story will make it onto “Incarcerated Abroad”. Now that is a program worth watching!! The world’s prisons makes Gitmo look like the Ritz Carlton.
i just read on www.drudgereport.com that bill clinton’s buddy stephen bing, who also loaned him his private jet and paid the $200,000 in fuel costs, filmed the return. hope there won’t be book and movie deals made out of this. i believe steve bing has ties to hollywood.
i like your take on “incarcerated abroad”.
Bill could have offered Kim Jong the Gitmo prisoners in exchange for the journalists. They would have begged to stay in Gitmo.
I think the program should be shown to all high school and college kids. Might wake some of them up. What absolute hell holes!