Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) August 05, 2009 -- Two women journalists were granted a special pardon by Kim Jong II, North Korea, when former President Bill Clinton rode in on his white charger â a jet plane, for an unpublicized visit to North Korea.
The journalists, Laura Ling, 32 and Euna Lee, 36, were handed a sentence of 12 years hard labour, in June, for allegedly entering North Korea illegally in March, while filming a documentary on the trafficking of women into China, from North Korea. Women who were being sent to rural areas of China, where the one-child policy has created an enormous imbalance of no marriageable females.
U.S. State Secretary, Hilary Rodham Clinton, may have orchestrated the negotiations, but it was her husband who rode away to collect the two erring journalists. An official statement was issued where the journalists apologized saying, "We are deeply regretful and very sorry it's happened".
Al Gore, the Obama administration's first choice for the mission, was rejected by North Korea. Gore is the co-founder of the television channel the journalists were working for. From the time of the arrests, North Korea made it clear that they expected a high-profile person to plea on the reporters' behalf.
It is believed that Clinton's visit will pave the way for the reclusive Kim Jong to now have a face-saving method to end North Korea's recent provocative stand and return to the negotiating table in a U.S.âNorth Korea bilateral meeting. North Korea has recent made a series of nuclear and missile tests, in open defiance of a U.N. order.
KCNA reported, "Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong an earnest request of the U.S. government to leniently pardon the women and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view". It also appears that South Korea may have had a hand in Clintonâs unannounced visit.
It is only a few weeks ago, after President Barack Obama was elected, that Bill Clinton was viewed as being a potential liability. He was seen as the biggest and most vital stumbling block to Hillary Clintonâs political ambitions.
Now it seems Bill Clinton has become an unpaid ambassador for Obama policies. Jimmy Carter, former president, undertook a similar controversial diplomatic trip to North Korea, in 1994, while Clinton was in the presidential office.
It is felt the two journalists were simply pawns in a challenge of wills between North Korea and the United States. The sentence of hard labour was never evoked and the women were apparently kept in a guest house after sentencing. However, being a pawn in the International arena has cost the women and their families 140 days of extreme anxiety. Can anything really compensate for this?
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