Great news! Former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il today has resulted in Kim pardoning the two Current TV journalist who have been detained there since they were arrested in March for trespassing, according to reports. Laura Ling and Euna Lee had been convicted and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in June, though they reportedly did not actually serve in labor camps.
Kim gave the journalists a “special pardon” after Clinton apologized for Ling and Lee’s “hostile acts.”
Clinton, though his wife Hillary is currently U.S. secretary of state, was not on an official government mission, and brought no one from the U.S. government along. However the U.S. was fully aware of his visit, and Clinton and Kim apparently had a “wide-ranging exchange of views on the matters of common concern,” according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. It’s not clear if the two made any progress on denuclearization issues, but apparently Clinton, as the most senior American official to visit North Korea since Madeleine Albright in 2000, was enough to sway Kim on the issue of the two journalists.
Ling and Lee may leave North Korea within the next day, according to reports.