NORTH KOREA: N. Korean media says Bill Clinton left Pyongyang

International news agencies also report that the former U.S. president left along with the two American journalists who were arrested and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country

The Korea Herald
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

North Korea's state media said Wednesday former U.S. President Bill Clinton left Pyongyang after holding talks with its leader, Kim Jong-il, just minutes after retracting its earlier report of his departure, according to Yonhap News.

Clinton and his entourage "left here today by air," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

"They were seen off at the airport by Yang Hyong-sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Kim Kye-gwan, vice-minister of foreign affairs," the report said. Kim and Yang had received Clinton at the airport in Pyongyang a day earlier.

The report did not say whether Clinton took two American journalists with him, but foreign wire reports quoted his spokesman as saying that he did.

The female reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested in mid-March for illegally entering the country, were granted a special pardon by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il earlier Wednesday.