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August 4th, 2009
04:56 PM ET

Clinton to North Korea - a matter of respect

President Bill Clinton arrives to a warm welcome in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday.

President Bill Clinton arrives to a warm welcome in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday.

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea was the culmination of weeks of quiet diplomacy with Pyongyang and subtle public statements aimed at freeing American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

Having secured the journalists' release, will the trip eventually coax North Korea back to the negotiating table?

There was no shortage of envoys ready to travel to North Korea and negotiate the women's release.

Some heavyweights were turned down by the North Koreans: former Vice President Al Gore, a co-founder of the media outfit the women were working for when they were arrested, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations whose previous missions to North Korea included negotiating the release of a detained American.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • North Korea
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. GIFFT

    Bill remains my man. God bless you and Hillary. Chelsea also.

    You have a wonderful family.

    August 5, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  2. Fouze Farrhan

    Clinton has class that no other American President will ever have.
    Fouze Farrhan from Srilanka.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:34 am |
  3. george

    anyone want to be rescued for their stupidities just cross a sovereign country's border and you be famous and in the news...there are laws in an every nation that should be respected not broken.

    August 4, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  4. Abboud

    Congratulations to president Clinton, good job. We got our fellow citizens back.

    August 4, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    North Korea wanted respect just like Carter said years back – what better gesture of respect can there be to send a former President to negotiate with them? I think this was a win on both sides and may yield even more good results as we go on from here. I am looking forward to hearing from Bill himself in an interview his perceptions of North Korea and its leader and where we should go from here. Thank you Bill Clinton – you have given us some good news, something we haven' had in a while.

    August 4, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  6. carol kesling

    kudos to president clinton, you rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  7. Stacy Kopper

    Why would North Korea be "coaxed back to the negotiating table"? From the looks of things, they won this round. Will Iran have the same outcome with the hikers?

    August 4, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  8. jackie Q brea CA

    I am sure if you sent him to Vegas and gave his country a few tons of rice the outcome would have been the same.

    August 4, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  9. Chuck

    South Korea currently suffers from having a G.W.Bush (aka MB Lee) as their President. Just as Bush wasted 8 years for Americans with unnecessary wars, raking money from middle class into coffers of weapon and oil industry, and losing the precious time to fight and slow down the climate deterioration, Lee is currently wasting the livelihood of South Koreans. Bush and Lee hugged just yesterday in Seoul - with the two puppets prasing each other for their mutual 'greatness'. These two neocons are in love with each other.

    When Jimmy Carter visited North Korea to meet with Kim Il Sung, he flew to Seoul first, involving South Korean government in the talk in some indirect way and bringing some real fruits of the talk for the South Korean government. This time Clinton flew directly to Pyongyang. It is amazingly intersting to see how isolated the South Korean government is in all this and in dealing with matters of their own penninsula. This is a direct consequence of having a Bush, a neocon, that Lee as their president. South Koreans will have this neocon government for another 3 1./2 years. During this time the USA should move ahead in their relation with NK without too much concern for what the South Korea may want - because they themselves do not know what they want; and asking this question will be just a waste of time. USA better deal directly with North Korea and eliminate NK's nuclear program and normalize the diplomatic relations.

    August 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  10. morgan

    I think was a great move for former President Clinton to go over to korea and once again shine with his diplomacy.Great job as always Mr.Clinton.

    August 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  11. Shellon

    I am happy the women are safe!
    At least something was done...
    I personally think that Bill Clinton was
    one of the best president's of my era even though I am
    only 17.

    August 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  12. Mary

    Thanks, Bill. You're a true hero.

    August 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm |