It’s a good bet that the government of Kim Jong Il, of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea, had expected to release the two journalist all along. They either used this event for publicity or got some kind of concessions out of it. The DPRK news mentions Clinton’s trip, but not the freed journalists. This trip may lead the way for better relations between the US and the DPRK. As the article below points out, relations between the two countries froze during the George Bush years. It’s unlikely that the Bush government could have pulled this off.
From the Associated Press:
Freed journalists home in US after NKorea pardon
By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer Robert Jablon, Associated Press BURBANK, Calif. – Two American journalists jubilantly reunited with family and friends early Wednesday upon returning to the United States with former President Bill Clinton, whose diplomatic trip to North Korea secured their release nearly five months after their arrests.
The jet carrying Euna Lee and Laura Ling, reporters for Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV, and Clinton arrived at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport at dawn. Clinton met with communist leader Kim Jong Il on Tuesday to secure the women's release.
Lee emerged from the jetliner first and was greeted by husband Michael Saldage and 4-year-old daughter Hanna. She hugged the girl and picked her up before all three embraced in a crushing hug as TV networks beamed the poignant moment live.
For the rest click here.
From KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY of DPRK:
calendar>>August 4. 2009 Juche 98
Kim Jong Il Meets Former U.S. President Bill Clinton
Pyongyang, August 4 (KCNA) -- General Secretary Kim Jong Il today met with former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his party on a visit to the DPRK.
Bill Clinton courteously conveyed a verbal message of U.S. President Barack Obama to Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Il expressed thanks for this. He welcomed Clinton's visit to the DPRK and had an exhaustive conversation with him.
There was a wide-ranging exchange of views on the matters of common concern.
Present there were First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Sok Ju and Department Director of the WPK Central Committee Kim Yang Gon.
과거기사 달력>>2009년 8월 4일기사 목록
김정일총비서 클린톤 미국 전 대통령을 접견
(평양 8월 4일발 조선중앙통신)조선로동당 총비서이시며 조선민주주의인민공화국 국방위원회 위원장이신 위대한 령도자 김정일동지께서는 4일 조선을 방문하고있는 미국 전 대통령 빌 클린톤일행을 접견하시였다.
석상에서 김정일동지께 빌 클린톤은 바라크 오바마 미합중국 대통령의 구두메쎄지를 정중히 전달해드리였다.
김정일동지께서는 이에 사의를 표하시고 빌 클린톤의 조선방문을 환영하신 다음 그와 진지한 담화를 하시였다.
접견에서는 공동관심사로 되는 문제들에 대하여 폭넓은 의견교환이 진행되였다.
강석주 외무성 제1부상과 김양건 조선로동당 중앙위원회 부장이 여기에 함께 참가하였다.(끝)