No concessions made to NKorea, says James Jones
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 09, 2009, 22:46
Washington: No secret concessions were made by the US in exchange for the release of two captured American journalists in North Korea where Kim Jong-Il still appeared to be in "full control," a top Obama administration official said on Sunday.

US National Security Advisor General (Rtd) James Jones said former President Bill Clinton carried no official message to North Korea on his recent visit to secure the release of the scribes and "there were no promises, other than to make sure the two young girls were reunited with their families".

"I can do that with absolutely a straight face," Jones said in an interview to Fox New, when asked if he could assure the American people that that there were no "secret concessions from the United States".

Clinton travelled to North Korea last week in what the White House described as a "humanitarian mission" and secured the release of the two journalists, who were arrested over five months back on charges of entering the country illegally.

Asked if the North Korean leader is still in-charge of his government, Jones said: "Well, we are still very much debriefing the party that went with President Clinton. But preliminary reports appeared that the Kim Jong-II is in full control of his organisation, his government. The conversations were respectful and cordial in tone".

He said the North Koreans have indicated they would like a better relationship with the United States. "They've always advocated for bilateral engagement. We have put on the table in the context of the talks we would be happy to do that if, in fact, they would rejoin the talks. So we think (the US would be willing to talk)... within the context of the six party talks".

Noting that the former US President and the North Korea leader had about a three and half hour discussion, Jones said: "Reportedly they discussed the importance of denuclearisation in terms of weapon systems of the North Korean Peninsula -- of the Korean Peninsula, and -- in addition to, you know, talking about other things that the former President may have wished to discuss".

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 09, 2009, 22:46

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