I watch CNN every morning while I am checking my web sites and doing my business.
Of late, there has been precious little that is uplifting to say the least.
This morning, however, there was a lovely story about the two American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, returning to US soil in Burbank, California, accompanied by their rescuer, Former President, Bill Clinton.
The two girls were happily reunited with their families and one gave a short emotional speech detailing their harrowing 142 days in capture in North Korea after allegedly illegally entering North Korea from China.
They had been tried and sentenced to 12 years hard labor and thought they would never return to their jobs working for the San Francisco based and Al Gore owned Current TV.
Al Gore had been tirelessly trying to free the girls for months and was on hand today to welcome them home and say a few words.
The selection of President Bill Clinton to make the trip to try and negotiate the girl’s release had been in the works for weeks as a very delicate balance had to be struck.
There should be no agenda hidden or otherwise than the girl’s release. Nuclear proliferation would not be on the table and President Clinton was not an official representative of the Obama administration rather just performing a humanitarian act where both sides could save face.
It could not be viewed as the states in any way “negotiating with terrorists” not could it appear to be any weakness on the part of Kim Jong-Il
The high level meeting took place in Pyongyang and lasted about 3 and a half hours including a lengthy dinner.
Rumors had surfaced that Euna Lee and Laura Ling would be released in exchange for a diplomat visit from President Clinton and only President Clinton. No US president had been to North Korea since Jimmy Carter’s visit to the then leader Kim Il-Sung in 1994 representing President Clinton.
When approached to go to North Korea on this diplomatic visit to free the girls President Clinton was eager to do whatever he could to make it happen.
President Clinton was also charged with taking the pulse of the highly volatile situation with North Korea as far as the health and mood of their leader Kim Jong-Il and whether it would be possible to bring them back to the table for talks with the US.
I am sure in the coming days we will hear more about President Clinton’s visit and impressions but for the moment everyone is just enjoying the return of these brave journalists to their families
President Clinton is a savvy and experienced diplomat and I do not think they could have sent anyone better to complete the mission. This undertaking took a great deal of tact and coordination and in this President Clinton did not fail.
The girls said as they were waiting to momentarily be sent into 12 years hard labor but instead they were called into a meeting and when they saw President Clinton in the room they felt hope for the first time in 142 days.