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