Ling and Lee: will diplomacy work?

02 July 2009 |permalink | email article

Since the June 8 conviction in communist North Korea of two American television journalists for politically motivated ‘crimes,’ an eerie media silence has fallen since their sentence of 12 years’ hard labor.

Alleged details of the case involving reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee for Current TV, a San Francisco-based media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore, were released by state media just hours before President Barack Obama met at the White House with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

There’s a strong belief that the two women are being used as bargaining chips by Pyongyang in its standoff with South Korea and the United States, which are pushing for U.N. sanctions to punish the North for its latest nuclear test and a barrage of missile tests – which have caused Washington to bolster its missile defense system in Hawaii.

While Gore has been notably silent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appealed for the two women’s humanitarian release, saying the charges against them were baseless.

Former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, instrumental in negotiating for the release of U.S. citizens in an incident in the 1990s, expressed confidence that with no espionage charge, and completion of the legal process, negotiations for “their humanitarian release can begin.”

Read ‘em and weep

“Sweat is my sanity.” Sarah Palin to Runners World, in an interview where she says she can beat President Obama in a (foot) race.






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