Bill Clinton meets Kim Jong Il in North Korea, 4 Aug 2009
Photo: The former American President Bill Clinton flew into North Korea on a surprise mission to secure the release of two American journalists. He was taken from the airport into a rare face-to-face meeting with the regime's 'Dear Leader', Kim Jong Il. It has raised hopes that North Korea may soon be enticed back to multinational disarmament talks after three months of mounting atomic tensions and provocation. (KRT/Reuters)
Photo: North Korea’s official news agency reported that Mr Clinton and Mr Kim engaged in "sincere and exhaustive discussions" on a range of issues. (KRT/Reuters)
Photo: A South Korean newspaper reports on his visit (Ahn Young-joon/AP/Times Online) Reports suggest that Mr Clinton will use the two-day trip to "negotiate robustly" for the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists who are serving 12 years hard labour in a North Korean prison. They were both working for a television company run by Mr Clinton’s former Vice-President, Al Gore, and were arrested for a "grave" though unspecified, crime on the North Korea-China
border earlier this year. (Yonhap/AP)
Photo: South Koreans have been demanding the release of the two women. Here they burn a defaced North Korean flag during a rally. (Ahn Young-joon/AP)
Photo: A defaced portrait of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is placed on the street during the rally in Soeul (Ahn Young-joon/AP)
Source: Times Online, 04 August 2009 - Bill Clinton meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Il for talks
Within hours of shaking the hands of his reclusive host, Kim Jong Il, North Korea dramatically announced that the journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were free to go.
“Kim Jong Il issued an order ...on granting a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labour in accordance with Article 103 of the Socialist Constitution and releasing them,” North Korea’s official news agency reported.
They were expected to fly back home on board Mr Clinton’s plane.
Full story at Times Online by Leo Lewis in Tokyo, and Tim Reid in Washington 4 Aug 2009:
Bill Clinton secures 'pardon' for imprisoned journalists after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Il