WASHINGTON — The White House took a tight-lipped stance Tuesday on former President Clinton’s visit to North Korea to press for the release of two jailed Americans arrested in March.
“While this solely private mission to secure the release of the two Americans is on the ground, we will have no comment,” said a statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “We do not want to jeopardize the success of former President Clinton’s mission.”
Clinton earlier landed in North Korea on a private jet.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said earlier Tuesday he hoped that Clinton’s visit to Pyongyang would yield some progress on the difficult standoff between the United States and North Korea on nuclear issues.
Interviewed on NBC’s “Today” show, Graham said he saw no problem with Clinton taking the lead on resolving the issue of the two women arrested in March. The Clinton visit was reminiscent of some missions that Bill Richardson, now the governor of New Mexico, had taken in the past.
That’s certainly a high-stakes approach to the problem. I hope it works, but personally, I’m a little leery of it given North Korea’s history. They love the attention, and now they’re getting it.