This is breaking news....
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korean media say leader Kim Jong Il has pardoned two American journalists and ordered their release during the visit of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton met Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the first day of a surprise mission to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of two Americans, holding "exhaustive" talks on a wide range of topics, state-run media said.
Clinton "courteously" conveyed a verbal message from President Barack Obama, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report from Pyongyang. Kim expressed his thanks, and engaged Clinton in a "wide-ranging exchange of views on matters of common concern," the report said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, however, denied Clinton went with a message from Obama. "That's not true," he told reporters. read more here....
North Korea on Tuesday released two jailed American journalists after a visit from former U.S. President Bill Clinton in the highest-level U.S. contact with North Korea since Clinton was president nearly a decade ago.
North Korea's KCNA news agency said North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had issued a special pardon to the two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling of U.S. media outlet Current TV, which was co-founded by Clinton's vice president Al Gore.
Clinton was the highest-level American to visit North Korea since his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, went there in 2000.
He was greeted warmly on his arrival and had what North Korea's KCNA news agency described as an "exhaustive conversation" over dinner with ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his top aides. read more here....
Statement (via email) from President Clinton's office:
"President Clinton has safely left North Korea with Laura Ling and Euna Lee. They are en route to Los Angeles where Laura and Euna will be reunited with their families."