Citing North Korean state media, numerous major media outlets are reporting that Euna Lee and Laura Ling have been released from a North Korean prison following an unannounced visit to the country by former President Bill Clinton. During his visit, Mr. Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, but all reports have indicated that the meeting was focused on securing the release of the two journalists detained since March 17 of this year. According to the BBC, the North Korea News Agency released a statement saying Kim Jong Il “granted a special pardon” to the journalists.
It is unclear whether or not North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were discussed, but all indications are that the meeting focused on the reporters. North Korea’s lead nuclear negotiator did, however, greet Mr. Clinton at the airport while Kim Jong Il was absent.
The reporters were working along the North Korea-China border on a documentary about North Korean refugees for Current.tv, a project of Al Gore’s, when they were arrested for crossing illegally into North Korean territory.