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Aug 3rd, 2009

Bill Clinton Makes Unannounced North Korea Visit

Image: Bill Clinton in North Korea
Former President Bill Clinton is greeted by officials as he arrives in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. (Photo credit: Zhang Binyang / Xinhua via AP)

Aug. 2, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made an unannounced visit to North Korea on Tuesday on a trip seen as a mission to win the release of two jailed American reporters and to ease tensions over Pyongyang’s recent nuclear defiance.

North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator and a high-ranking parliamentary official met Clinton on the tarmac as he landed in an unmarked jet, footage from broadcaster APTN showed. …

Washington has been pressing Pyongyang for months to free Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV media venture who were arrested along the North Korean-Chinese border in March. …

Meeting with Kim?

There was speculation Clinton might see leader Kim Jong Il, who analysts say is eager to smooth relations with Washington as he prepares to name a successor.

Kim, 67, reportedly is in ill health, suffering a stroke a year ago on top of chronic diabetes and heart disease. Kim, who rules the impoverished communist nation of 24 million with absolute authority, has not publicly named the next leader but is believed to be grooming his third son, 26-year-old Jong Un, to take over.

Internal stability is key to a smooth transition, and establishing relations with Washington would be one way to rule out a threat from a superpower that has 28,500 troops stationed just on the other side of the border with South Korea, its wartime foe, analysts said. …



Bill Clinton brought unique skills to diplomacy that led to reporters’ pardon

Image: North Korea's Kim Jong Il greets Bill Clinton
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, left, speaks with former President Bill Clinton in Pyongyang on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. (Photo credit: KRT TV via AP)

Analysis: Obama lets North Korea’s Kim save face

Commentary: Bill Clinton shows that diplomacy works


Related reports on this site

Iran, North Korea Threat Level Rises (Dec. 13, 2009)

Bill Clinton in North Korea (Aug. 3, 2009)

North Korea Ready to Deal? (July 26, 2009)

Independence Day (July 4, 2009)

North Korea Nuclear Threat (June 16, 2009)

Kim Jong-Il Threat Assessment (May 31, 2009)

Tense Stand-Off With North Korea (May 28, 2009)

North Korea Warns of Possible Military Action (May 27, 2009)

North Korea Launches Rocket (Apr. 5, 2009)

U.S. Warns N. Korea on Missiles (Feb. 17, 2009)

North Korea Missile Launch? (Feb. 11, 2009)

Korea Headache Looms for Obama (Jan. 28, 2009)

Obama Faces Daunting Challenges (Nov. 6, 2008)

Kim Jong Il Appears in Public (Oct. 4, 2008)


Kim Jong-Il Threat Assessment

Political Psychological Profile of Kim Jong-Il

By Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D.


A remote psychological assessment of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was conducted. … In summary, Kim Jong-Il may be characterized as fraudulent, self-indulgent, and conflict averse — preferring guile, craft, and cunning rather than force or confrontation in extracting or extorting from others what he considers his due; he is not a “malignant narcissist.”

The major political implications of the study are the following: First, although North Korea’s military capability undeniably poses a legitimate threat to regional stability, any claim by Kim Jong-Il with regard to his military capabilities are not to be taken at face value, but should be called into question and verified; second, Kim is relatively conflict averse and unlikely to employ military force without provocation; and third, Kim is relatively open to influence by carefully crafted diplomatic and economic means subjectively perceived as bolstering his self-serving ambitions.



Rockets Slam into Afghan Capital

Image: Afghan officials investigate a bombing in Herat

Aug. 3, 2009

KABUL — Five rockets slammed into Kabul at daybreak Tuesday in a rare attack on the Afghan capital less than three weeks before presidential elections, police and residents said.

The explosions, heard by AP reporters, occurred to the east of the city near the international airport. …

A few rounds of sporadic gunfire followed the rockets. …


8/4/09 Update

Kabul Hit by Biggest Rocket Attack in Years

Image: Building damaged in Kabul rocket attack
A police officer stands guard next to the broken window of a house after a rocket attack near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Aug. 4, 2009

KABUL — Taliban militants fired at least nine rockets at the Afghan capital before dawn on Tuesday in the biggest attack of its kind for several years, some landing near major Western embassies, police and witnesses said.

Amid a serious escalation of violence before August 20 presidential elections, a provincial governor escaped unhurt after roadside bombs hit his convoy just west of the capital in an apparent assassination attempt, a spokesman said.

The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the elections and have called on Afghans to boycott the ballot, the second direct presidential poll since the Islamists were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001. …


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — August 3, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Day 20

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 20th day of my campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Sunday, August 3, 2008, I took a break from campaigning and featured, as a public service announcement to help draw attention to the sacrifice of National Guard citizen soldiers serving in Iraq and the families they leave behind, Part 1 of the Associated Press series, “The Longest Deployment” (the story of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard and its tour of duty in Iraq).

3 Responses to “Bill Clinton in North Korea”
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