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Bill Clinton Visiting North Korea

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    The Admin. says this is a private mission to try to free the two US journalist but this has to be an unofficial diplomatic move.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32277010/ns/world_news-asiapacific

    In N. Korea, Bill Clinton aims to free reporters
    Former president seeks release of American women detained since March


    SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea welcomed former President Bill Clinton to Pyongyang with flowers and hearty handshakes Tuesday as he arrived in the communist nation on a surprise mission to bring home two jailed American journalists.

    Clinton landed in the North Korean capital in an unmarked jet. On arrival he shook hands with Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Kwan and the deputy speaker of parliament. Footage from television news agency APTN showed Clinton bowing and smiling as a young girl presented him with flowers.

    The unusually warm exchange between officials from communist North Korea and the ex-leader of a wartime foe comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over the regime's nuclear program. In recent months, North Korea has abandoned a disarmament pact, launched a long-range rocket, conducted a nuclear test and test-fired a barrage of ballistic missiles in defiance of the U.N. Security Council.

    The White House took a tight-lipped stance Tuesday on Clinton's visit.

    "While this solely private mission to secure the release of the two Americans is on the ground, we will have no comment," said a statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. "We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton's mission."


    Clinton was making his first trip to North Korea in hopes of securing the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's California-based Current TV media venture who were arrested along the North Korean-Chinese border in March.

    But the visit could reap rewards beyond the women's release, with Clinton and North Korean officials broaching the nuclear impasse, diplomatic relations and other long-standing issues between Washington and Pyongyang, analysts said. Kim, the vice foreign minister, also serves as North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator.

    "This is a very potentially rewarding trip. Not only is it likely to resolve the case of the two American journalists detained in North Korea for many months, but it could be a very significant opening and breaking this downward cycle of tension and recrimination between the U.S. and North Korea," Mike Chinoy, author of "Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis," said in Beijing.

    'Hostile acts'
    North Korea accused Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, of sneaking into the country illegally in March and engaging in "hostile acts," and the nation's top court sentenced them in June to 12 years of hard labor. The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, but officials were believed to be working behind the scenes to negotiate their release.

    Clinton, whose administration had relatively good relations with Pyongyang; Gore, his vice president; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who in the 1990s traveled twice to North Korea to secure the freedom of detained Americans, had all been named as possible envoys to bring back Lee and Ling.

    However, the decision to send Clinton, whose wife is now secretary of state, was kept quiet. A senior U.S. official later confirmed to reporters traveling to Africa with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the former president was in North Korea.

    "While the mission is in progress, we will have no comment," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. "Our interest is the successful completion of the mission and the safe return of the journalists."

    North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency announced Clinton's visit with a brief dispatch but did not say who he would be meeting during his trip.

    Meeting with Kim Jong Il?
    There was speculation Clinton might see leader Kim Jong Il, who analysts say is eager to smooth over relations with Washington as he prepares to name a successor.

    Kim, 67, reportedly is in ill health, suffering a stroke a year ago on top of chronic diabetes and heart disease. He rules the impoverished communist nation of 24 million with absolute authority, but has not publicly named the next leader. He is believed, however, to be grooming his third son, 26-year-old Jong Un, to take over.
    Internal stability is key to a smooth transition, and establishing relations with Washington would be one way to rule out a threat from a superpower that has 28,500 troops stationed just on the other side of the border with South Korea, analysts said. The two Koreas remain technically at war because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

    Releasing the journalists would be a face-saving segue into talks, analysts said.

    "When you're dealing with Kim Jong Il in North Korea, his word has been, may still be, law. And so it is actually possible to sit down and have a significant conversation that could change the current trajectory of U.S.-North Korean relations," said Jim Walsh, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    During a nuclear standoff with North Korean in 1994, former President Jimmy Carter went to Pyongyang and met with leader Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il's late father. That visit, during Clinton's presidency, led to a breakthrough accord months later.

    The last high-ranking U.S. official to meet with Kim Jong Il was Madeleine Albright, Clinton's secretary of state, who visited Pyongyang in 2000 at a time of warming relations. Ties turned frosty when George W. Bush took office in the White House in 2001.

    Interest in bilateral talks
    Since President Barack Obama took office, Pyongyang has expressed interest in one-on-one negotiations with Washington. The latest provocations were seen in part as a way to draw a concerned U.S. into bilateral talks.

    Washington says it is willing to hold such talks with the North, but only within the framework of international disarmament negotiations in place since 2003. Those talks involve China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States. North Korea has said it will never return to the six-nation disarmament process.

    Lee and Ling were captured in North Korea's far northeast in the midst of the nuclear standoff. They had traveled to the border region in China to report on women and children defectors from North Korea.

    Their families and U.S. officials have pushed for their release, noting that Ling has a medical condition and that Lee has a 4-year-old daughter.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged North Korea to grant them amnesty, saying the women were remorseful and their families anguished.

    "We are still very distressed by the absence of Laura and Euna but remain hopeful that a positive resolution can be reached," TV journalist Lisa Ling, Ling's older sister, told the Committee to Protect Journalists in July.
     
  2. ReD_1

    ReD_1 Rookie

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    This should be interesting, that's all I gotta say.

    But its obvious that USA took more pacific/peaceful attitude towards North Korea, Cuba, Iran and other countries which are known for not having great relationships with western countries.

    Personally I think it's a gamble but it's a worthy gamble and the only way towards quality diplomacy.
     
  3. MoonDogg

    MoonDogg Member

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    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    Thanks for going old school, Moondogg. Awesome.

    This news is funny. Let's see here: husband of Sec. of State... yeah, nothing official about that. LOL. Interesting way to show them some of the attention they crave without really bowing to their nuttiness.

    I would have offered Bob Dole and a 2nd round pick, but that's just me.
     
  5. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    Definitely took some stones for Bill Clinton to go over there. Props for that
     
  6. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    It's a good point. They could strap him to a missile and fire him at Arkansas, or Rush Limbaugh's live radio studio.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Lil Pun

    Lil Pun Contributing Member

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    Really? I mean, I'm not doubting what your saying but do you have to be brave to visit that place?
     
  8. deepblue

    deepblue Member

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    He probably meant more than just clinton's own safety. Other things are at risk here.
     
  9. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Probably not the safest place to visit, but for a former US president who is also followed by Secret Service, I think it isn't that big of a risk.

    Me and you? I suggest we stay clear.
     
  10. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    its is risky alright for Bill, after Hillary and NK traded insults just last month

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6724826.ece
     
  11. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Good. I really wish all of our former Presidents were more capable or inclined to engage the world. I guess party loyalty, post-election bitterness and conflict of interest probably kept H.W. from doing it for the last 16 years; and I think all Shrub has ever really, truly cared about is cutting taxes and scaling back Roe.

    Carter's getting old, I probably wouldn't mind seeing B. Clinton morph into his role; hell I'd kinda like to see either him or Blair running the U.N.
     
  12. Baqui99

    Baqui99 Contributing Member

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  13. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    Couldn't they at least have loaned Bill one of those jumpsuits?
     
  14. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    For the first 6 years, Bush had the bright idea of reinventing the wheel with his "Cowboy Diplomacy/Rumsfeld Idiocy" only to have the wheel roll over him.
     
  15. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    They look very comfortable together.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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  17. gifford1967

    gifford1967 Contributing Member
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    Dude. You're killing me over here.
     
  18. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    [​IMG]
     
  19. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    LOL great idea Monica Lewinsky for US Ambassador to NK (if there is such an office)
     
  20. Surfguy

    Surfguy Contributing Member

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    I'm surprised Bill would meet with Mr. Sicko. It was during his administration that tensions flaired with NK because the nuke deal in place was left for dead after it was clear NK wasn't living up to their end of the bargain.

    Gotta admire Bill for sucking it up and doing this. The only thing Yong-Il deserves is a big middle finger right in his face.
     

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