LONDON (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has granted a “special pardon” to two jailed U.S. journalists which releases them from detention, the official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday.
“Kim Jong-il issued an order of the chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission on granting a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labor in accordance with Article 103 of the Socialist Constitution and releasing them,” KCNA said in a statement which carried a Pyongyang dateline.
PYONGYANG, North Korea – (BREAKING NEWS/AP) – North Korean media say leader Kim Jong Il has pardoned two American journalists and ordered their release during the visit of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Former President Bill Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the first day of a surprise mission to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of two Americans, holding “exhaustive” talks on a wide range of topics, state-run media said.
Clinton “courteously” conveyed a verbal message from President Barack Obama, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report from Pyongyang. Kim expressed his thanks, and engaged Clinton in a “wide-ranging exchange of views on matters of common concern,” the report said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, however, denied Clinton went with a message from Obama. “That’s not true,” he told reporters.
Clinton was in communist North Korea on a mission to secure the freedom of Americans Euna Lee and Laura Ling, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV media venture who were arrested along the Chinese-North Korean border in March and sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry and engaging in “hostile acts.”