ABC News' Kirit Radia reports: Former President Bill Clinton’s trip to North Korea to retrieve two American journalists held there since March was billed as a private “humanitarian mission,” albeit one approved by the Obama administration.
But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that her husband’s visit was “extremely helpful” in providing insight into the reclusive regime.
“It gives us a window into what's going on in North Korea,” Secretary Clinton said of the briefings her husband has provided to the National Security Council since returning from Pyongyang, where he met with secretive and reportedly ailing leader Kim Jong Il.
“But our policy remains the same. Our policy is consistent. We continue to offer to the North Koreans the opportunity to have a dialogue within the six-party-talk framework,” Clinton said, referring to the negotiations with North Korea aimed at ridding the country of its nuclear capability. Pyongyang walked away from the talks last year and this year has said it will never return.
“The choice is up to the North Koreans,” she added.
Asked whether President Clinton’s trip might have opened a window to dealing with the regime, Secretary Clinton responded: “That is up to us to determine, whether there are some opportunities and some insights that can be used to try to create this positive atmosphere, but it's truly up to the North Koreans.”