July 11th, 2009
01:38 PM ET
5 years ago

U.S. seeks amnesty for two held in North Korea

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives a news briefing Friday at the State Department.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives a news briefing Friday at the State Department.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States has dropped its request that two American journalists imprisoned in North Korea be released on humanitarian grounds, and is seeking amnesty instead, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

A plea for amnesty implies forgiveness for some offense.

Previously, Clinton said the United States was seeking the immediate release of the women - Laura Ling and Euna Lee - on humanitarian grounds.

The women were sentenced in June to 12 years in prison on charges of entering the country illegally to conduct a smear campaign.

Laura Ling's sister, Lisa Ling, told CNN Friday night that she feels the change in approach is significant, and could aid negotiations for the women's freedom. Lisa Ling is a CNN contributor.

"The two journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident, and I think everyone is very sorry that it happened," Clinton told a State Department briefing Friday.

Full story


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • North Korea
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. tpbco

    This administration never met an issue it wouldn't apologize for. Where's Al "Carbon Credits" Gore been HIDING. Aren't these HIS employees. Perhaps he still trying to get that stain out of his blue dress....

    July 11, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. Ray

    Let them rot. They broke the law in North Korea and they should pay for it.

    While they serve their time, our State Department should be getting more important work done. Like the issues with China, Honduras, Russia, etc.

    July 11, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. NYC REPUB

    I hope things work out w/ this.......Those two women need to come home.

    July 11, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. European-American

    OMG. Are we ging to have to apologize to everyone now/ How weak is this administration? What did these two journalist do other than be journalists? I hope all you reporters who get all warm and tingly up and down your leg watch what is going on and put yourself in these two American journalists position. I guess America doesn't defend other country's who believe in freedom, why should we defend our own press?

    July 11, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. European-American

    I'm so glad we cleared up that whole "appeasement" issue during the campaign. Or I would not know what to make of our current international policy. At least I know it's not appeasement. LOL

    July 11, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. annie for Palin

    Why is obama sweeping Hillary under the rug?

    July 11, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    WOW – she's aged 10 years in 6 months. Maybe in over her head like Palin.

    July 11, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Sorensen

    It should make all americans happy and proud to see this highly
    intelligent and extremely smart woman discharge the duties of her
    high office.
    Obama made a very intelligent choice.

    July 11, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. why

    would North Korea listen to

    the US which has been the worst violator of international laws and rules and

    release illegal tresspassers from the aggressive enemy country?

    reality is always stranger than fiction.

    July 11, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Carlos

    Maybe next we can say "pretty please."

    July 11, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Sick -n- Tired

    All I can say about North Korea is "bombs away"! Like the old saying goes "you mess with the bull you'll get the horns" and not in a good way!

    July 11, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. turn Texas blue

    They might just have been spies.We will never know.We cant even get the crooks and spies that are republicans.

    July 11, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    I certainly hope this gets those women home. Having said that, once they get here, the US government should revoke their passports and make them reimburse the government for any money expended in getting their release. They violated the border of North Korea and put our government in the position of changing our actions in fear of North Korea doing something to them in retaliation. We are trying to stop that country from obtaining and using nuclear weapons against us and what these women did was completely irresponsible and damaging to diplomacy.

    July 11, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Happy Lady

    Pray for them and for their release.

    July 11, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. General Tso Chicken

    No! We should say if you dont release them we will turn your country into a parking lot and we will accept the colateral damage.

    July 11, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Gary

    Why do we look so weak dealing with North Korea. This is effectively kidnapping.

    July 11, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. rachel

    wonder what al gore had them doing. Hope your better Hillary can't wait to see YOU back overseas next week. As Colin Powel said we need you.

    July 11, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. B.H.

    Good luck Hillary......

    July 11, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Carol, California

    Why should Clinton have to waste her time with this?
    These two stupid women crossed the border illegally. They were trying to make a name for themselves, as journalists, by breaking some story.

    Now we're hearing all this moaning about "one of them has an illness" – "one of them has a child". TOO BAD. They had the illness and the child before they left. They shouldn't have done something so stupid then expect the world to turn on end to try to rescue them.

    I say leave them there.

    July 11, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    USA will swap Hillary for the 2 women.

    July 11, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Amnesty????

    Is that admitting that they were guilty of espionage??? Guess so.

    July 11, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. dreamer

    What about china?it's their neck of the woods.o wait nm they do the same thing and they are free trade partners /ponder.

    July 11, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. No Hillary = No Obama

    I have mixed feelings on this one. These two now admit they entered the country by choice, not by accident. They took a gamble and lost and now they want this country to bail them out. Grow up. North Korea is not a catch and release country -

    July 11, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. TW Harris

    Oh, I see, we now say they were guilty and shame on us. Wow!! I miss having some grit in the White House.

    July 11, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Leslie

    I think Hillary Clinton have forgotten something very important, human rights is plain ideology according to her President and she stand beside him saying it's not a priority for this current administration. You're flipflopping like a fish Hillary. I used to support you, not anymore. Just be happy Nokor will release those two women sent by Al Gore or else NOKOR will change its mind.

    July 11, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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