August 5th, 2009 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Political   Comments Off on BILL CLINTON OVERSHADOWS HILLARY
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At 1930 IST August 5th, the news that Bill Clinton had secured the release of two journalists kept in custody in North Korea, broke out  on all TV Channels across the country. It was Clinton’s sheer grit and determination that got their release.

Bill Clinton on Wednesday secured the release of two female American journalists held in North Korea for five months after the country’s top leader Kim Jong Il granted a “special pardon” to them following a surprise diplomatic mission by the former US President.  Clinton who spoke with the North  Korean Kim Jong II for three and a half hours.  North Korea  pardoned  Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, after Clinton helped secure their release during a  trip to Pyongyang.

It was stated that Clinton expressed his sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for acts committed by Ling and Lee against North Korea after intruding into it from China”. However US denied that any apology was made.

When news of their release were broke out Ling’s father said that “This is the best day of my life”.

“Kim Jong Il issued an order granting a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labor and releasing them,” North Korean state-run news agency KCNA reported..

Former Vice President Al Gore “met the freed journalists at Los Angeles after the plane carrying them with Former President Clinton landed at Burbank airport. The journalists were united with their families there. It was a tearful and emotional re-union.

“We feared at any moment that we could be sent to a hard labor camp and then suddenly we were told we were going to a meeting,” a tearful and emotional Ling said at a news conference in California shortly after arriving by plane with Lee and Clinton   Later the tearful Ling was hugged by Vice President Al Gore. A grand gesture indeed.

“We were taken to a location, and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President  Clinton,” Ling said. “We were shocked, but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end.” “These 140 days  were the most difficult period of our lives”.

Former Vice President Al Gore, on request from the two journalist’s families, also spoke to various journalists at a brief news conference. He expressed his gratitude to Clinton and President Obama and his administration who had been deeply involved in this humanitarian effort.
However, United States will not agree to the North Korean nuclear programs, said a spokesman of the White House.

Lee and Ling are employed by Gore’s California-based media company, Current TV. The women were arrested in March while entering North Korea from the border between North Korea and China.

Lee spoke minutes after the two women were reunited with their families at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank outside Los Angeles.

A US administration official said today that the North Korean regime had sought a visit by Clinton to their country as a pre-condition to the release of the journalists.

“Overjoyed” by the release, the families of journalists thanked Clinton for the mission and former Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Lee and Ling home. Al Gore also expressed his joy after the journalists employed by the television network he set up were freed.

Clinton walked off the plane minutes later but did not address the crowd. It was an act of   sheer magnanimity on the part of the former President.

At the White House, Obama applauded the release of the two journalists, saying, “We are very pleased with the outcome “Their release is a “source of happiness not only for the families but for the all Americans” he said.  Obama also thanked the former President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for their roles in winning the release of Lee and Ling.

 Ravi Matah

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