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Bill Clinton on a private mission: White House

world Updated: Aug 04, 2009 21:42 IST

The unannounced visit of the former US President Bill Clinton to North Korea to try to free the two imprisoned women US journalists is solely a “private mission”, the White House said on Tuesday.

“While this solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans is on the ground, we will have no comment,” White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, said in a statement.

“We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton’s mission,” Gibbs said, breaking the silence of the Obama Administration over reports that husband of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in North Korea to secure the release of two female US journalists jailed there for the last five months.

Korean news agencies had earlier reported that Clinton had landed on a charter jet in Pyongyang, the Capital of North Korea, on his mission to seek the release of the journalists.

The two female journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are reporters of the California-based Current TV - a media venture launched by Clinton’s former vice president, Al Gore. They are now serving 12 years of hard labour in prison for allegedly crossing the China-North Korea border illegally.

“A little girl presented a bouquet to Bill Clinton,” North Korea’s state news agency said. At the airport Bill Clinton was greeted by Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, indicating that the regime is possibly looking to move forward on its nuclear imbroglio.