Bill Clinton Secures the Release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling From North Korea

Jonathan Alcorn for The New York Times

Laura Ling spoke to the news media as former Vice President Al Gore embraced Euna Lee after they arrived in Burbank, Calif. on Wednesday. Mr. Gore founded the company that employs the journalists. More Photos >

  • US journalists ‘home and free’ after NKorea pardon: Two American journalists held captive in North Korea since March endured meals of rice with rocks, more than four months of isolation and the constant fear they would be sent to a gulag…. – AP, 8-5-09
  • Bill Clinton and Journalists in Emotional Return to U.S.: Former President Bill Clinton arrived in the United States Wednesday morning after a dramatic 20-hour visit to North Korea, in which he won the freedom of two American journalists, opened a diplomatic channel to North Korea’s reclusive government and dined with the North’s ailing leader, Kim Jong-il. The private plane carrying Mr. Clinton and the journalists, Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, landed at 5:50 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, just outside Los Angeles. – NYT, 8-5-09
  • “Thirty hours ago, Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea,” Ms. Ling said in brief remarks to reporters, blinking back tears. “We feared that at any moment we could be prisoners in a hard labor camp. Then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting. We were taken to a location and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton.” – 8-5-09
  • Obama Welcomes Return of Journalists Jailed in N. Korea: “The reunion that we’ve all seen on television I think is a source of happiness not only for the families but for the entire country,” he said…. – VOA, 8-5-09
  • Clinton and Gore, Together Again: It was a gripping moment: Bill Clinton, the former president, and Al Gore, his vice president, sharing a lengthy embrace as Mr. Clinton delivered two journalists who worked for Mr. Gore back to American soil from captivity in North Korea…. – NYT, 8-5-09
  • Bill Clinton has quite a story to tell: After his talks with reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Bill Clinton sure has a story to tell. And one of the first in line to hear his tale is President Barack Obama. “I suspect that President Clinton will have some interesting observations from his trip and I will let him provide those to me,” Obama told MSNBC on Wednesday…. – Reuters, 8-5-09
  • After Clinton Trip, U.S. Studies Signals From N. Korea: A day after former President Bill Clinton’s flight into North Korea to win the freedom of two American journalists, the Obama administration moved Wednesday to send a stern message to the North Korean government: nothing has changed…. – NYT, 8-5-09
Zhang Binyang/Xinhua, via Reuters

Former President Bill Clinton greeted American journalists Laura Ling, middle, and Euna Lee as they board a plane at an airport in Pyongyang on Tuesday. More Photos >

  • In Release of Journalists, Both Clintons Had Key Roles: Former President Bill Clinton left North Korea on Wednesday morning after a dramatic 20-hour visit, in which he won the freedom of two American journalists, opened a diplomatic channel to North Korea’s reclusive government and dined with the North’s ailing leader, Kim Jong-il. Mr. Clinton departed from Pyongyang, the capital, around 8:30 a.m. local time, along with the journalists, Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, on a private jet bound for Los Angeles, according to a statement from the former president’s office…. – NYT, 8-5-09
  • Analysis: Obama lets NKorea’s Kim save face: The Obama administration let North Korean leader Kim Jong Il save face by releasing two jailed Americans to former President Bill Clinton. The payoff — maybe not right away — is likely to be renewed dialogue with Pyongyang about its nuclear weapons program…. – AP, 8-4-09
  • Families, Gore asked Clinton to intervene: The Obama administration said Tuesday that the families of two reporters imprisoned in North Korea had asked former President Bill Clinton to travel to Pyongyang to seek the women’s release. A senior administration official said the families were joined in the request by former Vice President Al Gore…. – AP, 8-5-09
  • Clinton, 2 journalists on way to US from NKorea: Former President Bill Clinton brought two freed U.S. journalists out of North Korea Wednesday following rare talks with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, who pardoned the women sentenced to hard labor for entering the country illegally. Euna Lee and Laura Ling were heading back to the U.S. with Clinton…. – AP, 8-5-09
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hailed their release: “Obviously I am very happy and relieved to have these two young woman, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, on their way home to their families,” she told reporters in Nairobi, Kenya. “I spoke to my husband on the airplane and everything went well. They are extremely excited to be reunited soon when they touch down in California. It was just a good day to be able to see this happen.” – AP, 8-5-09
  • NKorea: 2 US journalists given ‘special pardon’: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il issued a “special pardon” freeing two jailed American journalists after talks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, North Korea’s official news agency announced Wednesday…. – AP, 8-4-09
  • Stephen Hess: Historian: If Clinton’s Trip To Korea Works Out OK, Expect Him To Do More: I called presidential historian Stephen Hess at the Brookings Institution to talk about the historical precedent. Hess basically said nothing quite like this has happened before…. – NPR, 8-4-09
  • Bill Clinton in North Korea to Seek Release of U.S. Reporters: Former President Bill Clinton went to North Korea on Monday to negotiate the release of two American television journalists who were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering North Korean territory, a person who was briefed on the mission said…. – NYT, 8-3-09

Zhang Binyang/Xinhua, via Associated Press

Former President Bill Clinton shook hands with a North Korean official in Pyongyang.

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