This frame grab from South Korean television taken in Seoul shows former US President Bill Clinton(R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Il posing for a picture in Pyongyang.Clinton arrived in North Korea on a surprise mission to free two jailed American journalists, the highest-profile visit by an American to Pyongyang for nearly a decade
The Obama administration is rewarding North Korea for its bad behavior by sending ex-president Bill Clinton to Pyongyang to win the release of two US journalists, the former US ambassador to the UN said Tuesday.
John Bolton, an outspoken hardliner in the previous administration of George W. Bush, told AFP that Clinton’s mission to Pyongyang undermines a number of public stands held by his own wife, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“It comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists,” Bolton told AFP when asked about Bill Clinton’s trip to secure the release of journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
The pair were sentenced in June to 12 years in a labor camp for an illegal border crossing and an unspecified “grave crime,” after they were detained by North Korean border guards on March 17 while working on a story.
“I think this is a very bad signal because it does exactly what we always try and avoid doing with terrorists, or with rogue states in general, and that’s encouraging their bad behavior,” Bolton said.
In a US television interview here on July 26, Secretary Clinton warned North Korea that even its traditional allies had turned against it and that the communist state’s rogue behavior will no longer “be rewarded.”
Bolton also scoffed the White House’s contention that Bill Clinton’s visit is “solely a private mission” when he said “this is a former president who is married to the secretary of state. There’s nothing private about this.”
Remember this was the same President who sent his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to visit Kim Jong-Il with a Michael Jordan autographed basketball.
North Korea Leader Kim Jong-Il and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Exit question: What is this diplomatic gesture by Bill Clinton going to cost the United States?