NORTH KOREA: Obama thanks Clinton for bringing back journalists

The White House issues a statement on the former president's trip to negotiate the release of two American journalists but doesn't mention North Korea

The Korea Herald
Thursday, August 6, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday thanked former President Bill Clinton for his effort that led to the release earlier in the day of two American journalists held in North Korea since March for illegally crossing the Chinese border, according to Yonhap News.

In a brief statement made at the White House, Obama, however, fell short of mentioning North Korea.

"We are obviously extraordinarily relieved," Obama said soon after Laura Ling and Euna Lee of the San Francisco-based Internet outlet Current TV arrived in Los Angeles on the chartered flight that brought Clinton to Pyongyang.

"I want to thank President Bill Clinton -- I had a chance to talk to him -- for the extraordinary humanitarian effort that resulted in the release of the two journalists," he said. "The reunion that we've all seen on television I think is a source of happiness not only for the families but for the entire country."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il issued a pardon to the journalists just hours after a meeting with Clinton in Pyongyang later Tuesday.