Clinton: ‘Amnesty’ for jailed reporters?

12 July 2009 |permalink | email article

Since their June 8 conviction for entering North Korea illegally the fate of American journalists Laura Ling and Lisa Ling, sentenced to 12 years at a hard labor camp, all media coverage disappeared.

In a July 2 post this blog raised a question of whether some form of diplomatic effort might be in the offing, given the proclivity of Pyongyang to favor bargaining chips.

The Huffington Post reported Friday that Georgia political scientist Han Park told a South Korean news agency that the women, who work for co-founder Al Gore’s Current TV media group based in San Francisco, are being held at a guest house in the North Korean capital as a precursor to some kind of negotiation with Washington.

The Washington Post now reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a position shift, called on North Korea to grant “amnesty” to the reporters, dropping previous demands that they be freed on humanitarian grounds.

Clinton told State Department officials at a town meeting that “the two journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for the incident and “I think everyone is very sorry it happened.”

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