Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will be visiting North Korea to negotiate the release of two American journalists, who have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering North Korea illegally and engaging in “hostile” acts, reported the Associated Press.
North Korea is expected to use the reporters as leverage in Washington’s case against the country’s use of nuclear weapons.
North Korea asked unofficially that the negotiations be met with Clinton or a high-ranking Obama administration official, reported Bloomberg.
“The North Koreans have a lot of nostalgia for the end of the Clinton administration,” Scott Snyder, a North Korea expert from the Asia Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times, adding that Clinton garners much respect for being a world statesman.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee “were arrested on March 17 near North Korea’s border with China” while reporting for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV, reported the Associated Press. North Korean officials arrested Ling and Lee during moments of increasing tension.
“North Korea tested a nuclear weapon and more than a dozen missiles this year, prompting new United Nations sanctions against the regime,” reported Bloomberg.