WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that the Obama administration was pleased with the result of former President Bill Clinton’s private mission that resulted in the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee – and wouldn’t rule out bringing him back on board in a more official role in the future.
“Obviously this was not a negotiation. I want to be clear about this,” she told CNN’s John King on “State of the Union.”
“This was a humanitarian mission. But Bill Clinton has enormous skills, experience and talent, we’re very grateful for his willingness to take this private mission, and pleased with the results. I can’t predict what might transpire down the road but we obviously value what he can contribute.”
Clinton traveled to North Korea last week and spoke with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, securing the release of the two women.
Rice said it was “ridiculous” to say Clinton was acting in an official capacity or relaying any messages on the administration’s behalf. But she conceded that his visit provided the White House with some valuable insight into the state of the regime.
“Obviously he listened, and obviously we are still in the process of continuing our debriefing with President Clinton, and obviously he heard what Kim Jong-il had to say,” she said. “And what that contributes to our understanding of what’s going on in North Korea I’d rather not get into in this discussion, but obviously we look forward to a full analysis of the observations and analysis of what President Clinton brought back.”
Rice said Clinton’s mission, and the release of Ling and Lee, would not change the administration’s approach or policy toward the regime.