On March 17, Current TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling were detained for their investigative reporting in North Korea. A couple of days ago, former President Bill Clinton visited North Korea to discuss diplomacy with the country’s leader Kim Jong-il. Clinton was there for a 20 hours visit and came back with the two detainees.
This humanitarian mission put former Vice President Al Gore and Clinton back to work together again. Current TV was co-founded by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested Bill Clinton to take on the mission.
This was the first time that Jong-il met with someone from the West since he had a stroke one year ago. The release of the two Current TV reporters was a sign of North Korea’s “humanitarian and peace-loving policy” as reported by the Korean Central News Agency.
Clinton apologized for the behavior of the two detainees and expressed the current President’s gratitude. The visit to North Korea came at a tense time as the country is ramping up a nuclear plan.
The President left at about 8:30AM local North Korean time on a private plane to L.A. with the journalists yesterday. The women were sentenced with 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country at the time of their arrest. The two women were doing a report on women and human trafficking.
When Hillary Clinton decided to take on the mission, she suggested sending several candidates to North Korea to lobby for the release of the two women. Bill Clinton emerged as the preferred choice by the North Korean people and the government. Clinton agreed to make the trip as long as the Obama administration did not object. Mrs. Clinton is currently touring in Africa.
About two weeks ago, The North Korean Foreign Ministry disapproved of Mrs. Clinton’s remarks when she discussed their nuclear program. The Ministry called her “a funny lady” and said that “sometimes she looks like a primary-school girl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”
Euna Lee is a U.S. citizen that was born in South Korea. And Laura Ling is the younger sister of Lisa Ling, who is a correspondent for CNN, Oprah, and National Geographic Explorer.
This was truly one of the most epic news stories I’ve written about and further proves how diplomacy can create freedom.