Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bill and Kim - Our $0.02

The personal, the political, and the impact to national security:

Personal: What a relief to get our two hostages back after their kidnapping at the border and subsequent show trial. Kudo's to the former president - now his third accomplishment and the first that cannot be undone by Obama (the others: NAFTA and Welfare Reform). Welcome home Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

Political: The picture at the top is shameful despite what we got in return. The Townhall cartoon says it best:

National Security: It appears part of the visit was used to discuss the North's nuclear program and threatened sanctions. Notice the smile in the top pic? Gordon G. Chang, in Wednesday's WSJ, Mr. Clinton Goes to Pyongyang:

And now there may be one more reason for the regime to continue its alarming conduct. If Mr. Clinton is conducting any nuclear discussions he would be rewarding Pyongyang for jailing the two reporters and making them bargaining chips.

This matters because Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee were not Pyongyang’s only hostages. In March, North Korea detained Yu Song-jin, a South Korean manager working in the Kaesong industrial zone, for criticizing Kim’s paradise. Last week, a North Korean patrol boat seized a South Korean fishing vessel that accidentally strayed into the North’s waters, and Pyongyang is now keeping the four-member crew for no good reason. North Korea may be holding 100 or more Japanese abductees and at least 1,000 South Koreans, some of them prisoners from the Korean War and others kidnapped since then. More broadly, Kim uses all his 23 million people as hostages.

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