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John Bolton: Bill Clinton's Release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling Puts Americans at Risk

4 years ago
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The news that former president Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea ended with the release of journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling was met with celebration -- but not universally. Former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton has insisted that Clinton's trip increases the risk level of other Americans. Calling the trip a "significant propaganda victory for North Korea," Bolton warned in Tuesday's Washington Post that the increased attention brought by the former president would have dangerous consequences for future hostages.

On Thursday morning, Bolton took it one step further, suggesting on "The Takeaway" that Americans are now more in danger of abductions in general. In response to the host's question over whether he meant that North Korea could start staging abductions of Americans, Bolton replied, "The North Koreans in particular have been kidnapping Japanese citizens and South Korean citizens for decades." He added, "And [they] have refused to give accountings to those two governments."

What's puzzling, though, is Bolton's fear expressed in the Post that Clinton's visit to North Korea could re-start negotiations with the state. The primary issue with North Korea is, of course, nuclear disarmament. Also at issue is the dissolution of the six-party talks, with the United States insisting that the four regional powers must also be at the negotiating table and North Korea insisting on two-party talks. For Bill Clinton to have made concessions on these or any issues is unlikely because, of course, the former president does not have the power to do so. His impact was to bring the spotlight to North Korea, and use it to leverage the release of two Americans. That seems like an excellent use of his standing as a former commander in chief.

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