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Bill Clinton has quite a story to tell
And one of the first in line to hear his tale is President Barack Obama.
"I suspect that President Clinton will have some interesting observations from his trip and I will let him provide those to me," Obama told MSNBC on Wednesday.
The former president was chosen by the North Koreans from among four possible envoys proposed to them to try to gain freedom for two American reporters sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea.
Other candidates for the task were other prominent Democrats: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and the man who served as Clinton's vice president, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.
Thus, Clinton became the most senior American envoy to spend time face-to-face with Kim in nearly a decade.
Kim is ailing and is widely believed to have suffered a stroke in August 2008. There have been rumors about pancreatic cancer and uncertainty about who will succeed him.
North Korea-watchers in and out of the U.S. government are wanting to know how he looked, how he seemed and what he talked about.
Some analysts have speculated Clinton's visit could open the way to direct talks with the communist state over its nuclear weapons program.
"I think it'll be very interesting," said Republican Senator John McCain. "He's the first Westerner to see Kim since his reported stroke and other problems. I think former President Clinton will have some interesting information."
In the secret negotiations that led to the rescue mission, Clinton made clear to Obama administration officials he only wanted to go if he had some certainty that Americans Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, would be released to his custody.
"We considered the request carefully," said a senior administration official. "We tested directly with the North Koreans repeatedly. We sought and received North Korea's agreement in fact that a visit by President Clinton would secure the release of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee."
Clinton had a meeting with Kim for an hour and 15 minutes and a dinner with him that lasted about two hours. In Clinton's entourage were his former White House chief of staff, John Podesta, and Clinton's personal physician, Roger Band.
Asia expert Nick Szechenyi of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said the up-close look at Kim was probably one of the most fascinating aspects of Clinton's visit.... (more at link)
so glad that this injustice is over! and I'm sure the stories will be very interesting.
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